Divisive is certainly one way to describe the new hurling championship format which was voted in by County Board delegates from across the country at the GAA’s 2017 Special Congress on Saturday morning.
Ger Loughnane has been quick to lambaste the passing of this motion, which will see the Munster and Leinster hurling championships played off in a round-robin league format.
The RTÉ Sunday Game analyst has stated that the restructuring of the hurling season’s calendar in this fashion will spell the end of hurling as we know it. Our national game is about to change forever, and not for the better, according to Loughnane.
The ex-Clare boss has his suspicions that ultimately the decision to re-jig the hurling landscape was made by the “football wing” at GAA HQ in Croke Park, he admitted in his scathing rant in his Irish Daily Star column.
He explains that he feels the new championship format was voted in by people who did not know enough about the subject before educating us on the downfalls he sees with the new system. Loughnane then goes on to compare the new championship format to worse than that of four decades ago.
“People don’t realise that the Leinster hurling championship will be over on June 17, and the Munster championship a week later.
“Two big teams in Munster and two big teams in Leinster will be finished with hurling at inter-county level for the summer on June 3,” writes the former All-Ireland winning manager.
“That is worse than the system of 40 years ago, and the top three in each province won’t fare much better.”
The hardest hitting remark in the piece goes as follows:
“If you were to give a committee the task of destroying hurling completely then surely this system would be seen as a very clever plan indeed,” he said.
Loughnane, never one to sit on the fence, was not shy to take aim at the opposing code in Gaelic games. Whether it is a conspiracy theory driven by football chiefs or something along those lines, the outspoken pundit feels that the football side of the GAA have a lot to answer for.
“They might as well go the whole hog and change the association’s name to the GFA. The Gaelic Football Association,” he adds.
Those comments come as a result of a feeling that the hurling committee who proposed today’s passed motion are only attempting to follow suit with the football’s Super 8 format, which also kicks off next summer.