Joe Connolly calls for Galway to be brought in from fringes

Leinster hurling not treating Connacht county as well as they should, says former captain

Joe Connolly captained Galway to All-Ireland hurling title in 1980. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Joe Connolly captained Galway to All-Ireland hurling title in 1980. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

 

Former All-Ireland winning Galway captain Joe Connolly wants his native county to stand up for itself and stop being the “whipping boys” of Leinster hurling.

He said next weekend’s fixing of Galway’s Walsh Cup final against Kilkenny at a Leinster venue is just the latest example of them being taken advantage of.

Galway have put forward a motion to national congress next month seeking to join a single provincial system at minor and under-21 level, and that will take priority over being granted home games in future.

But Connolly, who was speaking at an event in Galway on Monday to announce NUIG’s hosting of the Fitzgibbon Cup next month, believes his county must take decisive action and stop what he sees as the unfair treatment of Galway since they entered the Leinster championship eight years ago.

“Galway have been the whipping boys as regards that. And I am delighted that Galway are finally standing up and saying no more of that,” said Connolly.

‘Injustice’

“It’s an absolute injustice altogether. From 2009 we have got €125,000 in funding from Leinster and they have made about €3.5 million in gates from Galway having played there.

“And the fact that we have not been playing there in minor and under-21 is kind of saying, we will make use of ye because we like ye in the senior but after that go away. Those days have to finish. No more.”

And Connolly, who played a key role in UCG’s Fitzgibbon Cup success in 1977, says Sunday’s clash with Kilkenny would have been the perfect game to in Galway and show that there is a willingness for change.

“It would have been a nice way to get the ball rolling against Kilkenny this weekend, and it will in time,” said Connolly.

“The Walsh Cup is a nice competition to win. I was three years with Galway as a selector and we won one or two of them. But it’s obviously a stepping stone.

“It’s a good test early on the year against a team like Kilkenny. That will be a case of stand up and be counted. And that’s good, I like a lot about what’s happening in Galway hurling at the moment,” added Connolly, who captained the Tribesmen to their breakthrough All-Ireland title in 1980.

NUIG will host the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-finals and final on February 24th/25th.

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