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Joe Kernan: Time to get the Railway Cup series back on the right track

Quite often team selections cause fractious debate and controversy. But this week I must take issue with a selection of a different nature.

Jarlath Burns has been charged with overseeing the Railway Cup committee and I find this rather strange as he is someone who has not necessarily been an advocate of the competition of late. He is of course entitled to his views but nonetheless they could surely influence him in his new role.

It is well known that I am a staunch advocate of the Railway Cup and I make no apologies for continuing my quest to see this competition enjoy a more high-profile slot on the annual fixtures calendar.

There is a suggestion that the competition should be played in the October-November period but I hope the GAA does not give the green light to this.

Rather, I would prefer if the competition were to be played in February or March next year. I would propose that the semi-finals be staged in the two-week break from Allianz League action in February – indeed, the entire tournament could be played off during this spell. If this is not deemed feasible, then why not have the final played prior to the All Ireland Club decider in Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day? Or indeed, given that thousands are in Dublin for the St Patrick’s Day festivities, why not play the final on St Patrick’s Eve?

I feel this would draw a huge crowd to Headquarters and give the whole competition added status. Juggling with it on an annual basis when no one seems to know what is going to happen serves no purpose whatsoever in my view.

Only this week I spoke with Clare footballer David Tubridy and he told me of his delight at being involved with the Munster team in last year’s final at Armagh. Contrary to what some officials think, players take the competition very seriously and the tournament should be |accorded more respect.

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