Hurling

Tommy Walsh: “We will not have hurling in 10 years”

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

09:48 16 Aug 2018


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Kilkenny legend Tommy Walsh has expressed fear for the future of club hurling.

Walsh spoke passionately about the marginalisation of club players and how the lack of meaningful matches and incoherent structures will gut the game.

The 9 time All Ireland winner was a guest on Thursday OTB AM and he spoke of the frustration being felt by club players all around the country.

The disjointed nature of the fixture list is among the main issues facing club players, and Walsh believes the problems are so serious it could change the face of the game in the next decade.

 

The Club Players Association last month called on the GAA to create a National Fixtures Forum to address the growing concerns of the club players.

They conducted a survey that found 96% of members of the organisation reckon there is a disconnect between the GAA hierarchy and the playing members.

2,661 of 2,766 of those surveyed said the leadership of the organisation is not in tune with club players, the key finding was that 63% would support the season split between a county phase and a club phase for county players.

Walsh feels the game is in big trouble if nothing is done:

“The clubs is a massive failure at the moment, it’s terrible, and it’s in an awful place to be. I don’t want to be talking too much coming up to the greatest day in the GAA calendar but they need to sort it out quick.

“I would say if we don’t sort it out, I would say we as in me, the clubs, the county boards and the GAA, if we don’t sort it out we will not have hurling in 10 years time, it’ll be just elite, we won’t have anything going on.

“In Kilkenny, I don't know what way it is in the rest of the country, but summer soccer is coming, I thought we had no soccer players in Tullaroan, we have a few players in the town. Suddenly say your used to training twice a week and you have a match at weekends, suddenly you have guys playing soccer on Saturdays, then I hear they only play Saturdays during it was the winter because it was dark, they might be even playing soccer in the evenings in the summer, so what way do you do it now?

“You talk about complacency, we need to sort ourselves out, you look at Limerick and the golden run they’re on now with these young lads, where do they come from? Na Piarsaigh playing in club All Irelands, Kilmallock playing in club All Irelands.

“You look at Joe Canning, one of the greatest hurlers of this era, he couldn’t win an All Ireland till last year, where was he getting his success? With Portumna, three or four club All Irelands.

“The GAA is a massive cultural community thing at the moment, we no longer have everyone going to mass Sunday morning and talking for an hour or two, we no longer have people calling to each others houses or meetings on the streets, now with your iPhones and iPads most people are nearly inside their houses at night, bar with the GAA, you’re down at the matches the phones are gone you’re chatting, you’re playing. I think we’re in big trouble with the clubs if we don’t sort it out.”

You can watch OTB AM from 7:45 every weekday morning on our Facebook, YouTube and Periscope channels.

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