herald

Thursday 19 April 2018

McCaffrey: League format makes every game like Championship

From left, Bernard Brogan, Charlie Piutau, Cian O'Sullivan, Richie McCaw, Stephen Cluxton, Jeremy Thrush, Johnny McCaffrey, Steven Luatua, Niall Corcoran and Owen Franks. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
From left, Bernard Brogan, Charlie Piutau, Cian O'Sullivan, Richie McCaw, Stephen Cluxton, Jeremy Thrush, Johnny McCaffrey, Steven Luatua, Niall Corcoran and Owen Franks. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

EIGHT teams, six teams, super 12, super 14 ... there are few debates so confusing, tedious or, more to the point, recurring than the one which crops up annually about the structure of the hurling League.

It's entirely possible that those who voted on the matter stuck with the status quo for a three-year period did so in order to avoid hearing the proposals again until 2015.

"You want to be playing more games," says Dublin captain, Johnny McCaffrey and in doing so, summed up the motives behind the various proposals.

Dublin backed the eight team Division 1 plan, one which allows a little more wriggle room for experimentation and even the odd defeat, though their return to the topflight will now be just as pressurised as their relegation season of two years ago.

"The only thing with the six-team league now, every game is like Championship, it's really competitive," he points out. "There is no room for manoeuvre. It's probably the best preparation that you can get for Championship, playing games week in, week out at that level.

"Maybe an eight-team group you might have only had five or six games at the top level so, you know, that's the way it's been. There's nothing we can do about it, it's staying the same so we'll have to work towards it."

On more localised matters, McCaffrey says he is "just about" over Lucan's county final defeat to Ballyboden St Enda's though he admits to lingering regrets,

"Very, very disappointed. I think the game was there for the taking. If someone had said that they'd score no goals and score 13 points in the game, we'd have fancied our chances.

"I suppose it's something to build on, it was our first time getting there and the positivity in the club all week was exceptional. The crowd that was there, the atmosphere that Lucan I thought was brilliant, you know, it all bodes well for the club and for us next year as a team as well. Traditionally, this has been the time of year that potential recruits have been mooted. First, there was Shane Ryan, then Conal Keaney and last year (and most likely each season of his senior involvement) Ciarán Kilkenny.

The future sporting intentions of Tomás Brady are, as yet, unknown however, although McCaffrey - who played both codes with the Na Fianna man right through the age groups and hurling at senior level with Dublin, believes Brady's priorities lie predominantly in his battle to recover fully from a second cruciate knee ligament tear.

"I think for Tomás' sake it's about getting fit really. He's been through a tough couple of years what with doing the cruciate, coming back and being in great shape and then doing it again.

"I don't think it's fair to be sort of asking him one way or the other. For him, he's got to get himself back to play at a competitive level again. I know he's working really hard to do that and I wish him the best of luck with it."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News