Senior Hurling Championship Lacks Intensity - Tim Floyd

County Tipperary GAA Board Secretary Timmy Floyd told delegates in this annual report to Convention this week, that the senior hurling championship at divisional and county level lacks intensity - the kind of intensity required to make the games more attractive to spectators.

County Tipperary GAA Board Secretary Timmy Floyd told delegates in this annual report to Convention this week, that the senior hurling championship at divisional and county level lacks intensity - the kind of intensity required to make the games more attractive to spectators.

County Tipperary GAA Board Secretary Timmy Floyd told delegates in this annual report to Convention this week, that the senior hurling championship at divisional and county level lacks intensity - the kind of intensity required to make the games more attractive to spectators.

As part of his very wide ranging and comprehensive Secretary’s Report, the Newport clubman said that few can actually criticise the championship format in the county which strives to give senior players as many games as possible. And quoting from the Premier Plan stated that the county should “Provide players with a programme of meaningful games of a quantity and frequency to satisfy their needs and to support player recruitment development and retention,” the Secretary concludes that the county must move from the current position of not playing games in order to accommodate a few, to a position of playing games in order to accommodate the majority. “Deferring games because of the involvement of County players, exams, social occasions or clashes with other grades is to the detriment of the ordinary club player and the future of the Association,” Tim Floyd quotes from the Plan.

He said, “Many people complain that we have too many senior hurling teams in Tipperary but very few can criticise the format of the Senior Hurling championship. The prime objective of any competition should be to provide maximum games throughout the season with the top teams competing for the honours at the end. Our current Senior Hurling championship fulfilled this in 2011 based on the following details:

· The Divisional senior hurling championships commenced in April and no team was out of competition be it Dan Breen, Seamus O’Riain or Relegation until at least September.

· The eight teams who reached the Co. Quarter Final were among the top ten best senior teams in the County with four of them having won their divisional titles (Toomevara, Clonoulty Rossmore, Loughmore Castleiney and Mullinahone) plus last year’s and this year’s County champions (Drom & Inch and Sarsfields) along with Borris-ileigh and Kildangan.

“Despite fulfilling the criteria above, one has to admit that our SH championships within the division and at County stage lacks intensity and the standard of many games is poor. This is inevitable whilst we have a system that offers so many chances. At least this year one of these chances was eliminated with the removal of the back door for Seamus O’Riain winners or finalists. Yet a club can still stroll through their divisional championship without raising too much of a sweat because they know they can turn the screw if they are involved in the earlier rounds of the county championship.

“Also whilst we have five and six team groups in our divisional SH championships, clubs can afford to lose games and still qualify for the play-offs. Being involved in the All Ireland SH final for the past three years really condenses the window of opportunity for playing matches and clubs hanging around waiting leads to complacency. Cork and Kilkenny have just twelve teams in the county SH championship which is similar to our own North Division.

“With 32 teams in the Tipperary championship, it’s a miracle and great credit to Co.CCC that we are always ready to meet the Munster deadline before Nov 1st. One must also ask if our system is a disadvantage to our County senior hurlers as they struggle to show form against poor senior teams in the club championship. Would we have better quality County senior players if every club championship game they played had greater intensity? he asks.

He continued, “Co. CCC should insist on uniformity of divisional championships with all using the same systems and played on the same weekends, culminating in all finishing at the same time. We need to spice up our County leagues to make them a meaningful alternative for our clubs to play throughout the summer without their County men. The Seamus O’Riain Cup enjoyed a successful 2011 and I believe it has now found its true niche in our structures. The eight teams who fail to qualify for the Divisional semi-finals and also lose the first round of the county championship have now a realistic focus for a piece of silverware in their season. The removing of the relegation threat for the final four in the Seamus O’Riain semi-final allows them an opportunity to re-launch themselves for a fresh assault and salvage something out of their year. Both Moycarkey-Borris and Knockavilla Kickhams really wanted to win the trophy in 2011 and gave us a very entertaining curtain raiser on County final day.

“Relegation returned in 2011 and has left a sour taste on an otherwise very successful County Senior Hurling championship year. Much has been said and blame has been apportioned from different angles. I appreciate that Cashel King Cormacs have the law on their side with the regulations but it still does not take from the fact that they were beaten on the field of play. Had they won in that extra time would they argue the opposite view if Ballybacon- Grange objected? A lot of Cashel club members and players have remained publicly silent on the whole issue despite expressing quiet displeasure behind the scenes. If the recent actions and statements from the club are the views of the majority of club members then I accept the position they have taken as democratically representing the club,” the Secretary said.