Borris-lleigh joint-captains Conor Kenny and Seán McCormack pictured lifting the Dan Breen Cup following the FBD Insurance County Senior Hurling Championship final. Picture: Eamonn McGee
Mid Tipperary GAA Board chairman Jonathan Cullen advised clubs “to take a reality check” at the November meeting of the County Board at the Sarsfields Centre in Thurles on Tuesday, November 5. Mr Cullen was responding a motion proposed by the Newport club which sought to significantly alter the structure of the North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship. Ultimately, the motion was narrowly defeated following a vote (34-37).
Delegate Cora Moroney introduced the Newport motion which proposed to introduce two tiers to the North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship - the proposed structure featured the seven Dan Breen Cup teams in the division (namely Kilruane MacDonagh’s, Kiladangan, Toomevara, Nenagh Éire Óg, Borris-Ileigh, Burgess & Roscrea) competing in a knock-out competition with the winning team qualifying to take part in the county senior hurling championship at the preliminary quarter-final stage.
Meanwhile the seven Séamus Ó Riain Cup teams from roinn II of the county senior hurling championship (namely Silvermines, Templederry Kenyons, Lorrha-Dorrha, Portroe, Ballina, Newport & Kiladangan B) compete in another knock-out competition with the winning team qualifying to take part in the Séamus Ó Riain Cup at the preliminary quarter-final stage.
Although Templederry Kenyons delegate Alan Ryan and his Lorrha-Dorrha counterpart spoke out against the motion Mid Tipperary GAA Board chairman Jonathan Cullen declared that he “strongly” supported the Newport proposal.
Mr Cullen argued that the Mid Tipperary division needed to adopt a similar approach since several clubs across the divisions were competing in championships that they did not realistically have the ability to win.
“Some clubs need to take a reality check,” Jonathan Cullen argued before adding that the Newport motion was “the way forward for Tipp”.
At the November meeting of the County Board chairman John Devane requested delegates to “park the debate” related to the playing of divisional championship games during the window between the conclusion of the National Hurling League and the commencement of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship.
The Loughmore-Castleiney club proposed a motion that only divisional hurling and football championship games (senior and intermediate) be played on the available dates between the conclusion of Tipperary’s National Hurling League campaign and the commencement of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship.
County Board vice-chairman Joe Kennedy indicated that the motion was out of order since it sought to “tie the hands” of the County Competitions Control Committee (CCC) while chairman John Devane argued that with a fixtures review on-going at national level it would be sensible to adopt a wait-and-see approach before making definitive decisions.
Mr Devane admitted that there were “flaws” associated with the current structure of the club competitions in Tipperary, but the Boherlahan-Dualla man also insisted that “progress has been made”.
It is worth noting that the 2020 All-Ireland club championships will be completed in the calendar year meaning that the respective Munster and Tipperary club championships will need to be completed by a significantly earlier date.
AGE GRADE DEBATE
Some passionate exchanges featured at the November meeting of the County Board when the age-grade issue was broached - following a campaign, which originated with Central Council a number of years ago, many counties have altered their domestic structures for underage competitions in line with their inter-county counterparts i.e. from under-21, under-18, under-16 and under-14 to under-20, under-17, under-15 and under-13.
Tipperary, however, decided not to alter their domestic structures at last year’s convention, but the County Board received a letter recently from the GAA director general Tom Ryan out-lining an expectation that counties would adopt the new approach to the respective age grades. The stipulation does not feature in the official guide (rule book), but it is reasonable to expect that Central Council will address the issue at next year’s congress.
The controversial matter arose when delegates were asked to consider a motion proposed by the Upperchurch-Drombane club which sought to clarify the ages of players eligible to play in the 2020 under-21 club hurling and football championships.
Ultimately, it was decided to seek further clarification from Croke Park on the age grade issue and to then discuss the matter properly at the County Convention (December 16).
There are a whole host of practical considerations associated with the argument to make the switch to under-20, under-17, under-15 and under-13, but there are also arguments which can be made in favour of retaining the current format of domestic underage competitions.
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