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Monday 18 December 2017

Tipp boss Kearns predicts 'chaos' with next year's format

Tipperary football manager LIam Kearns. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Tipperary football manager LIam Kearns. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Tipperary senior football manager Liam Kearns has warned of potential "chaos" when the restructured senior hurling and football championships come into play next year.

The 'Super 8' system will be introduced for the All-Ireland senior football championship, while a revamped hurling format was confirmed last weekend, with round-robin systems in place for Munster and Leinster.

Fears have been expressed about the future of the club scene and while counties will look to get some of their fixtures run off in the month of April, Kearns doesn't believe that will be feasible.

He told Tipp FM: "They're talking about the championship starting in the first week of May.

"Are they seriously saying we're going to release players to the clubs for the whole of April, and then play the first round of the championship in May?

Crucial

"That doesn't work. The month before championship is a crucial month and I really don't know how it's going to work.

"Is every county going to release their players back to clubs for the whole of April, and then start from scratch again in May? I don't think this has been thought out very well and there could be a lot of chaos in relation to this.

"Until we see what the plans are and how it's going to be structured, we don't know for sure."

Kearns, who has signed up for two more years in the Premier County, is hopeful of continuing the progress made to date.

In his two seasons, Tipp reached an All-Ireland semi-final before gaining promotion to Division 2 of the Allianz League.

Bowing

He admits that Tipp "over-achieved" in 2016, when they reached the last four of the All-Ireland series before bowing out to Mayo.

Ahead of the 2017 campaign, Kearns introduced 17 new players to his squad, which he says was "too many." And he reflected: "We targeted promotion from Division 3, which we achieved, but after the league we didn't have our team right.

"We lost Evan Comerford to suspension and seven or eight of our key players were carrying injuries and knocks that we never had fit," concluded Kearns.

Meanwhile, Clare's Brendan Bugler, who was on the Banner County's team that captured the Liam Mac Carthy in 2013, yesterday confirmed his retirement from inter-county hurling.

In a statement, Bugler said: "I wish to confirm that I am retiring from inter-county hurling with Clare.

"Thank you to everyone who has helped me on my journey along the way.

"I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank my family and friends, teammates and management teams in Whitegate, Scariff Community College, University of Limerick and Clare," he concluded.

Former Clare team-mate Fergal Lynch paid tribute to Bugler.

Bugs is a phenomenal character, a great leader and is going to be a huge loss to the Clare set-up," he said.

"I have no doubt that we will be looking at Bugs on the sideline or in the stands over some Clare team or Flannan's in a Harty or All-Ireland in the coming years."

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