Kiladangan would welcome New Year club crack
By Shane Brophy
Kiladangan senior hurling manager Brian Lawlor has said he would be thrilled if the club could get an opportunity to compete for a Munster or All Ireland club title if those competitions to go ahead.
As it stands, the new Tipperary senior hurling champions won’t get the opportunity to represent the county following a GAA decision not to play the provincial and All Ireland club championships this year due to Covid-19, prioritising the time for county championships to be played before the inter-county championships.
However, in recent weeks there has been growing pressure from newly crowned county champions that the provincial and All Ireland Club Championships could still be played in January and February next year, prior to the National Leagues resuming.
In terms of the club hurling championships, it would take just three weekends to play the provincial championships with two further weekends for the All Ireland semi-finals and final.
“Everyone involved with the team would love a crack at the normal format of going onto Munster and trying to contest an All Ireland,” admitted Brian Lawlor.
“Looking at how successful Borris-Ileigh were last year we were jealous watching them and we were delighted to see them get that far.”
However, the Kiladangan manager isn’t optimistic that the GAA will revisit their decision.
“We knew from the start that it wasn’t going to happen in that manner because the inter-county season was going to take over straight after the county final.
“There has been a clamour to get it going in the spring but to be honest I don’t see where they could fit it in. There are just going to be so many commitments next year as nobody has settled on a schedule for next year about when the inter-county will be played or when the club will be played so I would think it would be difficult to find a window.
“If they did find it, I don’t think it would mean the same as it did previously as the whole philosophy behind it previously was to play your county final and be out in Munster a week or two after it so there was a natural flow, building towards the next step with the same panel of players.
“If we were to come back in January or February God knows where all the teams would be and how much the break would impact teams who might take it more seriously than other so it wouldn’t be an level playing field.”
In the normal scheme of things, Kiladangan would be preparing for a Munster club semi-final against Ballygunner of Waterford which was how the draw would have played out with Na Piarsaigh, Sixmilebridge and either Glen Rovers or Blackrock on the other side of the draw in what would have been a heavyweight Munster Championship and Lawlor was confident that Kiladangan would have been able to contend as first time champions.
“The week before we played JK Brackens in the first round of the championship, we played Ballyhale away and Na Piarsaigh away in challenge matches, one on a Tuesday and one the following Saturday. That was phenomenal preparation for us and while we didn’t play well against Brackens it stood to us throughout the campaign as we had the confidence of coming up against those clubs where we beat Ballyhale and drew with Na Piarsaigh, both of whom had their full squads,” Lawlor revealed.
After winning a first county title with Kiladangan last Sunday week, Brian Lawlor was celebrating on the double as two days later he and his wife Michelle were celebrating the safe arrival of their second child Max.