Leinster come to the rescue

THE Leinster Council have come to the rescue of Kilkenny, and the county will have representatives in the Leinster intermediate club hurling championship, writes John Knox.

THE Leinster Council have come to the rescue of Kilkenny, and the county will have representatives in the Leinster intermediate club hurling championship, writes John Knox.

Up to last night it was touch-and-go as to whether or not the county would have a representative in what is the second most important club hurling competition at provincial level.

The drawn All-Ireland senior hurling final between Kilkenny and Galway, followed by a totally unexpected run of draws in three consecutive rounds of the local intermediate championship, complicated and delayed the local fixtures programme.

The drawn intermediate semi-final between the Rower-Inistsioge and St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) on Saturday was the last straw, and backed Kilkenny into a corner.

The County Board couldn’t complete the competition on time. It wrote to the Leinster Council seeking an extension of the deadline for the intermediate competition because the county final had to be pushed back a week to the weekend of November 17/18.

Whether or not the final was going to be played on the Saturday or Sunday (17th or 18th) could not be decided initially because November 18 was the date the Kilkenny champions were due in action in Leinster.

Saved day

But the Leinster Council saved the day and devised a way of giving Kilkenny more time. Now the county semi-final replay will be on Saturday, with the final on Sunday week (18th).

The new deadline for Kilkenny in the Leinster intermediate competition has been pushed back a week to November 25, which was great news for all involved.

Had Leinster not been able to help out, then the new Kilkenny intermediate champions would have faced a tough call.

That call would be to play the county final on Saturday week, November 17, and then line out in the Leinster competition the following day. It was a tall order, but it was the only other way out of the dilemma.

The provincial body had already given Kilkenny a week’s grace in all three club competitions, senior, intermediate and junior. However, the glut of draws in the first round, quarter and semi-finals of the intermediate competition threw the revised schedule into disarray.

At a meeting in Portlaois yesterday, the Leinter Council officials reviewed things and acceded to Kilkenny’s request for more time.

Waiting anxiously for word were current All-Ireland junior club champions, St Patrick’s and the Rower-Inistioge, who drew in the semi-finals last weekend, and Clara, who await the winners in the decider.

One of that trio was facing the big decision about playing two major games within 24 hours if they wanted to carry the Kilkenny colours in the Leinster club event against Dublin champions, St Oliver Plunkett’s. They won’t have to do so now, however.

The semi-final replay between St Patrick’s and the Rower-Inistioge has been fixed as the curtain-raiser to the senior hurling final between Ballyhale Shamrocks and Dicksboro at Nowlan Park on Sunday. The action will commence at 12.30pm.

Steps down

Meanwhile, Kilkenny will be looking for a new manager for the county minor hurling team in 2013.

Adrian Ronan and his selectors have stepped down after serving an agreed two year term.

The Graigue-Ballycallan clubman didn’t get to win any silverware with the county, but he enjoyed the experience and felt sure the players he worked with would be real contenders for honours at under-21 level in the years ahead.

“We gave it our best shot, but things didn’t work out,” Mr Ronan said. “It was a huge honour to serve the county, and it was a huge learning experience too. The players we worked with have the potential to be real contenders in the years ahead.”

During the two years of his reign the county was beaten by one of the eventual All-Ireland finalists. The other selectors this year were Bro Damien Brennan (John Lockes), Barry Power (O’Loughlin Gaels), Tom Mullally (Glenmore) and Niall Lacey (Dicksboro).