Hurlers from the six counties remaining in the senior hurling championship attended the launch of the GAA’s All-Ireland series at WIT’s sports campus at Carraiganore.
Now that the provincial wars are over, the battle for the All-Ireland crown is intensifying and down to the last six so the launch was timed to coincide with the beginning of the All-Ireland series for the first time ever.
Patrick Maher, fresh from playing a vital role in Tipperary’s retention of their Munster title, was joined at the launch by David Burke of newly crowned Leinster champions Galway.
Michael Rice represented the reigning All-Ireland title holders Kilkenny and Shane Walsh of Waterford, Nickie Quaid from Limerick and Cork’s Brian Murphy were there on behalf of the other quarter finalists.
Speaking at the launch, Liam O’Neill President of the GAA told the players he is excitedly anticipating a terrific championship race.
“The hurling championship has already been one to savour with a number of stand out games and plenty of talking points. Galway’s Leinster final success over Kilkenny provided plenty of food for thought and Tipperary’s emergence in Munster after testing wins over Limerick, Cork and finally Waterford underlined their ambitions for the rest of the competition,” he remarked. “I am confident that the remainder of the championship will complement the fare we’ve had to date and it will be fascinating to note whether or not the Kilkenny / Tipperary stranglehold on the final can be broken by any of the other competing counties in the weeks and months ahead.”
The choice of venue is significant because WIT’s Sports Campus will have a leading part to play in the GAA’s Hurling Development Plan, housing the Association’s Centre of Excellence for Hurling and Camogie . The facilities were built with support from the GAA.