Galway hurling teams could be moving to Munster

Galway senior hurling captain David Burke, in action against Cork's Lorcan McLoughlin, and his team-mates could be competing in the Munster chamipnship from 2018 if a Liam Mellows motion proves successful.

GALWAY hurling, led by city club Liam Mellows, has decided to stand up and fight for its rights by finally setting the wheels in motion of withdrawing from Leinster and seeking entry for all its teams into Munster’s provincial competitions.

Speaking to Tribune Sport this week, Liam Mellows Vice Chairman Ollie Crowe said the refusal of Leinster GAA to allow Galway’s minor and U-21 teams to compete in their championships was not only detrimental to the development of Galway hurling but also to hurling in the City, where he estimated only 6% of schoolchildren play the sport.

“We won’t be dictated to any longer by weaker counties in Leinster whose line of thinking seems to be if Galway’s minors or U-21s go into those competitions, then it will give them no chance,” fumed Crowe, who also served as Chairman of Liam Mellows between 2011 and 2015.

“So, we have put forward (a motion to the annual Convention) to go into Munster and the reason for that is there are more games, there is more proportion and it will raise the standard. “The current situation in Leinster (where only the seniors and intermediates are allowed to play, with no home game) is totally unsatisfactory and we believe in Liam Mellows that the Munster option must be given serious consideration.”

It would not be the first-time Galway would have played in Munster, having done so during an ill-fated sojourn during the 1960s, but the landscape of the hurling world has changed since then with Galway now one of the top hurling counties across all grades in the country. However, Crowe – among others in Galway hurling – has become concerned that the lack of high-profile games being played in the West of Ireland is damaging the promotion of the sport – and, especially, in the city where Connacht and Galway United are so visible.

“So, we want to send this to Croke Park so it can be discussed at the highest level and let them sit up and take notice. Once it gets on the Clár for Congress in February, then it becomes more of a national issue and takes it out of the hands of Leinster.

“We believe it is a runner. Nationally, it is not going to happen for 2017 but it could happen for 2018. So, we would be asking all GAA clubs across the county to support the motion on the night and get the agreement of the delegates so we can go forward with strength in numbers.”

There are three strands to the Mellows motion. The first calls on the Convention to amend Rule 6.28 recognising that all of Galway’s hurling teams – minor, U-21, junior, intermediate and senior – should be allowed “to participate fully in all relevant Tier 1 competitions in a single provincial system and structure, with immediate effect”.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.