Kilkenny GAA is set to break new ground and play their first meaningful club hurling games without inter-county players.
The bold step has been agreed to by Bord-na-nOg.
Whereas club teams at minor level went two months without matches at the height of the summer last season, they can now look forward to continuous competition during April, May and July.
In 2018 the Kilkenny minor team was involved in a marathon, unparalleled 10-game programme on the way to the All-Ireland final, which was lost against Galway.
Because 30 or so hurlers were tied up with Kilkenny, clubs were left kicking their heels waiting for the return of the inter-county players.
As the Leinster minor championship is being run along the same lines this year, Kilkenny could be involved in another long and drawn out campaign.
Adding a further complication is the fact Kilkenny are returning to the Leinster minor football league/championship this season after a long absence.
However, the club players won’t be inconvenienced.
Bord chairman, John Byrne (Bennettsbridge) explained that following a review it was felt that for the benefit of the 500 or so registered players not involved with the county that matches shouldn’t come to a full stop.
Delegates agreed at the Bord meeting and voted for change.
This time rounds of the minor hurling league will be played in April, May (two games) and July.
Again the latter stages of May and June will be left free during exam times.
But it will be hurling all the way otherwise.
September 8 start
The knock-out stages of the cup and shield competitions will be held over until August, and the start up date for the minor championship was set for September 8.
Mr Byrne reminded that the current Leinster championship format was being trialled for three years, so the new situation in Kilkenny could be reviewed next year.
“If things don't work out as we hope this year we will have to try something else,” he suggested.
Mr Byrne thanked clubs for giving the green light to the new idea brought forward with the help of the Fixtures Committee.
He said the Bord had a good working relationship with the minor hurling Selection Committee, headed by manager, Richie Mulrooney, and they were very accommodating about the changes being introduced.
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.
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