GPA add to chorus against proposal to cut five counties from National Hurling League

Statement signed by clubs, management and the captains of all Tier 1 hurling teams comes in wake of five county boards also opposing the move

The Gaelic Players Association has added its collective voice to opposition to proposals for the exclusion of five counties from the National Hurling League from 2025.

In a statement signed by clubs, intercounty panels and management in the counties concerned – Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford and Louth – and also by the captains of all Tier 1 Liam MacCarthy teams, there is a call for the matter to be dropped from the agenda of Saturday week’s Central Council meeting.

Formulated by the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee, the idea of diverting funds from the relevant counties’ league campaigns into development work was originally believed to have had support among administrators but that melted away in the face of heated opposition from teams and players, who hadn’t been consulted.

After Leitrim’s vote on Thursday night, all five county boards have now stated their opposition to the move.


The proposal was that counties with fewer than five hurling club teams would be restricted in intercounty competition to the tiered championships, halving their season from six to three months.

There had already been growing speculation earlier this week that the motion would be withdrawn, and if not almost certainly defeated.

The GPA also call for a plan to be drawn up to “grow the game” in the weaker hurling counties.

The statement in full:

“We, the undersigned, are calling on the CCCC of the GAA, to withdraw the proposal that would see five counties excluded from the National Hurling League from 2025 onwards.

“It has become clear that the consultation referred to in the proposal was not conducted with the right people or with the correct information being discussed.

" . . .  we believe it is in the best interests of everyone that the proposal be withdrawn.  It is clearly divisive and while that may not have been the intention, it does nothing for the development of hurling.

“If the CCCC does not see fit to withdraw the proposal, we call on all county boards to ensure their Central Council delegates vote it down and help us instead to grow the game we all love.

“What the proposal has sparked is a conversation about the health of the game north of the much talked about Galway to Dublin line.

“We believe an opportunity has now emerged to really tackle the issue. Therefore we, the undersigned, have all committed to engaging with county boards, the provincial councils, the GAA’s CCCC and Central Council and anyone else who is interested in the health of hurling, to develop a plan to grow hurling within our counties and in other areas across Ireland where it is struggling.

“We will work with anyone and everyone constructively to secure the future of the game.  That is our commitment.”


Lisbellaw St Patrick’s, Erne Gaels Belleek, Lisnaskea Emmett’s, Fermanagh Senor Hurling Panel, Fermanagh Manager Joe Baldwin

Mullahoran St Joseph’s HC, Cootehill Celtic, East Cavan Gaels, Cavan Senior Hurling Panel, Cavan Management – Ollie Bellew and Tomás Mannion

Carrick Hurling Club, Leitrim Senior Hurling Panel, Leitrim Manager Olcan Conway

Knockbridge HC, Naomh Moninne HC, St Fechin’s, Louth Senor Hurling Panel

Longford Slashers HC, Wolfe Tones, Clonguish Gaels, Longford Senior Hurling Panel, Longford Manager Adrian Moran

Captains of Liam MacCarthy Teams in 2023: Eoghan Campbell (Antrim), Lee Chin (Wexford), Eoin Cody (Kilkenny), Seán O’Donoghue (Cork), Noel McGrath (Tipperary), Eoghan O’Donnell (Dublin), Dáíthí Burke (Galway), Tony Kelly (Clare), Paul Doyle (Carlow), Jamie Barron & Stephen Bennett (Waterford Joint Captains), Declan Hannon (Limerick)

The National Executive Committee of the Gaelic Players Association

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times