Impact of Cavan hurling ban may spread

Cavan County Board Chairman Tom Reilly has admitted no contact was made with club officials prior to the recent shock decision to pull the county out of the Lory Meagher Cup Senior ‘D’ Hurling Championship this year.

Cavan County Board Chairman Tom Reilly has admitted no contact was made with club officials prior to the recent shock decision to pull the county out of the Lory Meagher Cup Senior ‘D’ Hurling Championship this year.

The Shannon Gaels clubman said he was no longer prepared to live in “cuckoo land” after it emerged the Breffni county were in danger of having less than the full compliment of playing personnel for their recent Lory Meagher Cup game against Fermanagh.

He said dwindling numbers added to a mounting injury list had eventually forced his hand in making the announcement almost two weeks ago.

Mr Reilly said the existence of one fully registered club-St Joseph’s of Mullahoran-had only served to strengthen his resolve in announcing the move on RTE radio.

“The manager rang me up on the Thursday evening and said they were concerned about the number of players available. They said seven players were injured. I mean, we are talking about a national competition here,” he said.

Asked whether he had attempted to contact representatives from Mullahoran, Mr Reilly said: “No I didn’t. The bull had to be taken by the horns and that’s what we have done. I played hurling myself, possibly to a higher standard than some of those on the panel, but we can’t go on living in cuckoo land any more. Something had to be done.”

Part of those plans involve concentrating on the county’s grassroots level with particular attention being paid to its U16 and minor set up. Mr Reilly also intends appointing a full time coach to oversee and help with any proposed changes that take place over the next 12 months.

He declined to address the possibility other counties were considering similar moves, but said there was merit in the idea of a Midlands/Ulster cross county competition taking place in an attempt to stir up interest in the game.

“My belief is the likes of Longford, Leitrim, Fermanagh and Cavan take part in a competitive league. Distance shouldn’t be a problem,” he said.

Those remarks have, at least, carried some credence in Longford. Reacting to the news, hurling chairman Gerry Minnock said he too believed the setting up of a special inter-county competition may be nearer than some observers may think.

“From what I hear it is being mooted under incoming president Liam O’Neill,” he said. The Clonguish clubman was more cautious however when asked whether Longford’s County Board were considering replicating Cavan’s future hurling blueprint.

“I would be afraid of that. After winning the Lory Meagher (Cup) last year, we were down 12 players and in the last match against South Down this season we had a tight enough panel of 19 or 20. Three of those selected team couldn’t line out for that game either. The way things are at the moment in the GAA, money is their primary concern,” he added.

Whatever about Longford’s hurling plans, leading members from Mullahoran GAA club in Co Cavan were either staying tight-lipped or declined to have their names published when responding to the decision to put a temporary freeze on the game.

One representative, who preferred to remain anonymous, said there was a “lot of ill feeling” amongst hurling officials following the announcement.

“There was no consultation,” he said. “The County Board don’t want hurling, it’s as simple as that. There is no meetings (planned with County Board) as far I know. I don’t think there has been a meeting with the County Board I’d say in about six months.”