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GPA release statement condemning potential withdrawal of five intercounty teams from National Hurling Leagues

GPA CEO Tom Parsons. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)
GPA CEO Tom Parsons. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile) GPA CEO Tom Parsons. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

A GPA statement has added further fuel to the fire of hurling’s latest controversy, wherein a Central Council meeting next Saturday could result in five counties being withdrawn from the National Hurling Leagues from 2025.

The National Executive Committee of the GPA have released a statement today, condemning and strongly opposing the proposal, which would affect the counties of Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford and Louth.

Today’s statement has been aided by the signatures of all 11 captains that took part in last year’s Sam Maguire Cup. The playing personnel and management members of the five affected counties have also signed to highlight their disapproval with any potential changes.

The CCCC had stated that the concept of the motion is to increase funds for “development work” in perceived weaker counties, but the GPA believe the motion is “clearly divisive” and “does nothing for the development of hurling”.

As scrutiny intensifies, there is widespread speculation the motion may be withdrawn prior to the meeting on December 2. 

In the unlikely scenario the motion was to pass, Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford, and Louth would be consigned to solely Lory Meagher Cup hurling in 2025.

The statement in full reads:

“We, the undersigned, are calling on the CCCC of the GAA, to withdraw the proposal that would see five counties excluded from the National Hurling League from 2025 onwards.

“It has become clear that the consultation referred to in the proposal was not conducted with the right people or with the correct information being discussed.

" We believe it is in the best interests of everyone that the proposal be withdrawn.  It is clearly divisive and while that may not have been the intention, it does nothing for the development of hurling.

“If the CCCC does not see fit to withdraw the proposal, we call on all county boards to ensure their Central Council delegates vote it down and help us instead to grow the game we all love.

“What the proposal has sparked is a conversation about the health of the game north of the much talked about Galway to Dublin line.

“We believe an opportunity has now emerged to really tackle the issue. Therefore we, the undersigned, have all committed to engaging with county boards, the provincial councils, the GAA’s CCCC and Central Council and anyone else who is interested in the health of hurling, to develop a plan to grow hurling within our counties and in other areas across Ireland where it is struggling.

“We will work with anyone and everyone constructively to secure the future of the game.  That is our commitment.”

“Signed:

“Lisbellaw St Patrick’s, Erne Gaels Belleek, Lisnaskea Emmett’s, Fermanagh Senior Hurling Panel, Fermanagh Manager Joe Baldwin

“Mullahoran St Joseph’s HC, Cootehill Celtic, East Cavan Gaels, Cavan Senior Hurling Panel, Cavan Management – Ollie Bellew and Tomás Mannion

“Carrick Hurling Club, Leitrim Senior Hurling Panel, Leitrim Manager Olcan Conway

“Knockbridge HC, Naomh Moninne HC, St Fechin’s, Louth Senor Hurling Panel

“Longford Slashers HC, Wolfe Tones, Clonguish Gaels, Longford Senior Hurling Panel, Longford Manager Adrian Moran

“Captains of Liam MacCarthy Teams in 2023: Eoghan Campbell (Antrim), Lee Chin (Wexford), Eoin Cody (Kilkenny), Seán O’Donoghue (Cork), Noel McGrath (Tipperary), Eoghan O’Donnell (Dublin), Dáíthí Burke (Galway), Tony Kelly (Clare), Paul Doyle (Carlow), Jamie Barron & Stephen Bennett (Waterford Joint Captains), Declan Hannon (Limerick)."