Cllrs to lobby colleagues on hurling snub

Cavan County Councillors are to write to the GAA to express their opposition to a proposal to remove Cavan from the Allianz Hurling League. The council has also resolved to write to their colleagues at 30 other local authorities nationwide, asking them to do likewise.

Last week the GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee presented a plan to cut Cavan and four other counties - Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford and Louth - who each have less than five senior hurling clubs, from the league in 2025.

Instead, the proposal is to put in place a development plan for the future.

“Some accountant or whoever came up with this as a way to save money,” fumed Fianna Fáil's Aidan Fitzpatrick, speaking at last Monday's monthly council meeting.

The former county hurler, whose son is now on the Cavan panel, suggested that the council write to the county board to block the plan, and for council to also write to other local authorities requesting they do likewise with their own GAA representative bodies.

“It's complete discrimination for sport because we're not Kilkenny and because we're Cavan,” continued Cllr Fitzpatrick, who said that there were more than 150 active members playing with the Cootehill hurling club.

“There is hurling out there,” he exasperated. “If you stop them playing, you'll not make it better. If they stop playing, it will kill it altogether.”

Fermanagh and Louth are due to discuss the league proposal at their county board meetings on November 20. Leitrim and Longford are also expected to address the matter before a vote is taken.

Cllr Fitzpatrick said the past decision to pull Cavan from the 2011 Lory Meagher Cup, and all that followed, was difficult to overcome. This time, he suggested, it could prove even tougher.

“We're never going to win the Liam McCarthy but we play for the love of the sport.”

There was support for the motion from party colleague Patricia Walsh whose husband Patsy is a native of Cork. Like many from the south of the country who were stationed up along the Border after joining the army, the men joined clubs and brought with them a love of hurling. “There's a county medal in the house some place, with the Cavan Gaels.”

Independent Shane P. O'Reilly also backed the motion, while Clifford Kelly (FF) branded the proposals to exclude Cavan and others “disgraceful”.

There was support too from Fine Gael's Madeleine Argue, and from Cathaoirleach Philip Brady, a former coach of the Cavan lady's camogie team.