By Damian Dolan.
Delegates voted overwhelming in favour of overturning the county board’s own regulation that all players must play club championship before they can play for the county team, at last week’s county board meeting.
The U-turn came at the behest of joint London hurling manager Tommy Harrell following St Gabriel’s decision to give a walkover to Brothers Pearse two weeks ago in the second round of seeding senior championship matches – games which were introduced for this very purpose.
That decision left Harrell, and fellow manager Matthew Fitzsimon, facing the prospect of going into the Leinster Championship with six members of their National League panel – Eoin Kelly, PJ Rowe, Kevin Walsh, Luke Hands and Enda Cooney of Gabriel’s and Brother Pearse’s Stephen Frawley.
“I understand the clubs’ concerns, but playing championship in February is not a solution because it keeps so many players out of the game – you have to fill in with reserve players who only get one game for the whole year. That is not promoting Gaelic games in London,” said Harrell.
“It would have been a devastating blow. Up to last week we only had 24 players on the panel and three of them are injured (Brian Regan, Maurice Lynch and Dave Egan), so it would have left us with grave difficulty fielding a team.”
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World