herald

Monday 18 December 2017

A strange case of Croke Park logic

CAN someone in Croke Park please explain the logic that sees Portumna and Ballyhale Shamrocks kicking off the club final proceedings on St Patrick's Day?

Surely this is a no-brainer. The football showdown between St Gall's and Kilmurry-Ibrickane may be laced with romance, but it also has a very localised appeal. Contrast this with the clash of hurling superpowers that brings together one team (Portumna) chasing the competition's first ever three in a row and another (Ballyhale) seeking a record fifth hurling title.

That's before you factor in the rivalry, fuelled by last year's semi-final goalfest in Thurles. Or the individual battle of wits between Joe Canning and Henry Shefflin. Suffice to say, neutrals will lap it up, but we're not convinced they will all stay around for the football afterwards.

It's true that since the turn of the century, the club hurling final has topped the bill just once, in 2007 -- but an exception should have been made tomorrow.

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