It’s time to draw the line on replays

All intercounty or club games should be finished on the day – to help give the game back to club players

Cork’s Lorcan McLoughlin with Limerick’s Donal O’Grady and Declan Hannon  during the Munster final. Hannon can be a key figure for Limerick if he is used in a central position. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Cork’s Lorcan McLoughlin with Limerick’s Donal O’Grady and Declan Hannon during the Munster final. Hannon can be a key figure for Limerick if he is used in a central position. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho


After Sunday there will be only four teams left, (barring another draw) in this year’s premier hurling competition. On the subject of draws is it not time to draw up, (no pun intended) some new legislation and finish all games on the day? No more replays.

I am aware of the perceived reasons for replays but surely the fair deal for players, particularly club players, should supersede any other rationale. There has been much commotion made from time to time about looking after the greater playing population ie the club player.

But the cold facts are the club player is well down the chain of value or importance. The facts are he is not being reasonably considered when the master fixture list is being “mastered” or when the county hurling or football manager throws a wobbler.

The intercounty fixture calendar is fairly well set in stone and its efficient running is of greatest importance to the GAA. After that the intercounty manager has the most power. The club players and club managers have little choice but to accept whatever they’re given. Whatever way it’s dressed up or down the facts are that the club player will play championship when it doesn’t interfere with the master fixture list or the county manager.

Club players are being held to ransom as are their families. Planning a summer holiday is almost an impossibility. How many players have had to postpone honeymoons because a championship game was catapulted into their long-planned holiday?

Club manager

I’m at a loss to explain how the club manager can keep momentum going when there might be two months between championship games and then when the inter county season is over the club player might have a number of games compressed into a 20-day period which in effect means that almost the whole championship season is condensed into this brief window of time.

Now it’s time to rectify that with one, only one, simple change. No replays in any competition, intercounty or club. All games should be finished on the day.There is a knock -on effect from all games that aren’t finished on the day. What an anti-climax it is for players to have a final going to a replay and maybe, (as was the case for the last two All-Ireland senior finals ), three weeks between the games.

Some system needs to be arrived at to ensure a winner. Extra time and if necessary, a ‘golden score’ or penalties soccer style ( not that we would borrow any idea from the beautiful game ).

Anyway back to this Sunday and the imminent departure from this year’s championship for two counties – barring another draw.

We saw Dublin playing five games to win last year’s Leinster championship and were fairly sure as to where they were at, form wise, as August arrived. This year their form has been a bit on and off– like the Garth Brooks concerts.

Very good

But they still have the potential to be very good. Danny Sutcliffe now has a few more weeks training on board and Conal Keaney will hardly be as ineffective this weekend as he was in the Leinster final against Kilkenny.

When we witnessed Tipperary adding the All-Ireland under-21 title to their senior one in 2010 there seemed to be a general acknowledgement that they had an abundance of top players and were set to move Kilkenny off the top of the perch for good. That hasn’t happened though. They have not delivered on that perceived potential.

They are showing signs of improvement again though. But how much? Their win against Galway might yet be considered a watershed. This was top opposition even if the Tribesmen could make a case for battle fatigue.

The present Offaly team can hardly be considered top quality opposition so it probably isn’t fair to draw conclusions from that victory.

In the spring, as the league progressed, Tipperary regressed. However they did hang in there and showed incremental improvement in the lead up to the final when they were unlucky to lose to Kilkenny.

Improving again

Limerick then surprised the general hurling public, the bookmakers and Tipperary to send the latter into the last chance saloon, aka the qualifiers. However they are improving again and surely have a better idea as to what their best first 15 is.

I think they might just end Dublin’s season on Sunday.

In the other quarter-final, Limerick surely have the experience to win. They could have beaten Cork and have the potential to be considered realistic contenders but they are meeting the most improved team in this year’s championship in Wexford. Liam Dunne’s team have been a revelation. They should have beaten Clare in Ennis.Then they should have beaten them in the replay.

But they did it the hard way and waited until Clare had 15 players in extra-time before finishing them off.

They were the better team against Waterford but couldn’t put them away, earlier in the game, either. But they finally did the job and now surely are buoyed up with both momentum and confidence going into Sunday’s match.

Their work ethic has been phenomenal.

However Limerick though should have learned from the Munster final. The half back line left their full back line too exposed and also allowed the Cork half forwards way too much space. In the second half, Cork scored too many uncontested points from this area.

On Sunday they have it all to do but if they pick Declan Hannon in a central position (and he plays to his undoubted potential ) and if they keep a better shape in their back line they have a reasonable chance of victory.

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