Second U-21 chance should be for all sides
The new-look Under-21 hurling championships got under way last week, with the games set to continue this evening (Tuesday).
Beaten clubs at Premier level have been granted a second chance for the first time ever, with the 16 preliminary round contestants divided so that the winners will contest an 'A' championship while the losers will be in contention for 'B' honours.
It was refreshing to see clubs such as Gusserane, Rathgarogue-Cushinstown, Taghmon-Camross, Fethard, HWH-Bunclody and Oylegate-Glenbrien competing in Premier along with some of the more established hurling outfits.
However, there's one anomaly in that the participants in the Roinn 1 championship, still being run on a District basis, are not being afforded the same second chance as the rest.
The respective campaigns of Adamstown, Forth and Bargy Gaels, Marshalstown-Castledockrell and Ballyhogue ended after one game last week, and it seems odd to us that the opportunity for redemption isn't also afforded to them.
Take the case of Marshalstown-Castledockrell for example, who worked exceptionally hard to field a team on their own at this level for the first time in 22 years, but lost to Cloughbawn.
It would have been a just reward for the efforts of their players and mentors if they had at least two games. Perhaps this aspect of the championship could be tweaked for 2018 so that everyone gets a second chance, regardless of grade.
Something else we find strange is the presence of amalgamations at the lowest Roinn 1 level, particularly now that there's three competitions rather than two.
It may be argued that Forth and Bargy Gaels were in the correct grade, given that they lost to Blackwater, but that opinion would undermine the herculean efforts of the seasiders to win that game against the group team which had knocked them out in a couple of recent campaigns.
They celebrated long and hard when the final whistle sounded after extra-time in Carne last Tuesday by all accounts, and with good reason.
The Dunbrody Gaels amalgamation (Horeswood and St. James') have qualified for the New Ross District Roinn 1 final, and it will be interesting to see how far they progress.
Finally, praise is due to Buffers Alley club P.R.O. Mary Foley for producing a match programme for their home defeat to Taghmon-Camross on Tuesday. Such initiative should be applauded and is a fine example of good P.R. for a grade of hurling close to many hearts.