National Forum

Railway Cup- Revamp

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Replying To essmac:  "Out of interest, why was it so bad?"
I actually attended some really good ones in the 70s, by the time it came around to me the crowds had shrunk dramatically.
No atmosphere, no real feelings of 'belonging', no desire to win it, those things were just not there, for me anyway.
The general public voted with their feet. Friendly inter-county matches attracted more interest.
I understand why it would mean more in Ulster.

realdub (Dublin) - Posts: 8285 - 19/09/2021 22:43:11    2381733

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I can already hear the inter county manager complaining about losing their players to a competition in front of a handful of people....

StoreysTash (Wexford) - Posts: 1377 - 20/09/2021 11:28:52    2381806

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Replying To essmac:  "That's very interesting - and I think you're right about the other provinces too. Shows why R Cup not so popular. Ulster (9 counties) matters to me though. I always shout for Ulster teams. Commuting up from Dublin, I always felt I was "home" when I got into Monaghan or Cavan ...

I used to live in England, and found it a bit sad that their counties meant nothing to them. Many English people I asked didn't even know what county they were from. I guess we're going the same way with the provinces."
Isn't England is a lot more urban? I've always thought cricket is the most similar in terms of structure. Primary competition is the county championship.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 467 - 20/09/2021 20:42:31    2381949

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As long as I can remember (probably going back to the mid/ late 1980's) when people talked about the Railway cup it was always about how at one time it was a great competition but had now faded so much.

The concept of the Railway cup always sounded great to me, having the best players who would normally play against each other in the provincial championships playing with each other. In the 1990's the Leinster championship was a great competition (unlike last 15 years!) and having say Darren Fay playing full back with Glen Ryan in front of him sounded interesting, how would they gel playing together. Also seeing players like Mattie Ford and Declan Browne, who may not have the profile their skills deserved playing with top talent around them sounded good.

In truth usually I would not watch the Railway cup (was there ever much TV coverage for them?) when they were on because they had so little profile I would probably even know they were on. If I did see clips of them the atmosphere looked bad as they were played in near empty grounds.

From people who remember the Railway cup in its hayday what actually changed that interest faded so much?.

I went to club finals twice in Croke park on St Patrick's Day, based on this I wonder if the inter pros get this slot back would you be able to get a good crowd to Croke Park if they were actually promoted well as exhibition games involving some of the best players around taking place after the parade in Dublin ?. If the matches were ever going to get on TV you would need enough of a crowd to create a bit of an atmosphere.

bdbuddah (Meath) - Posts: 1007 - 22/09/2021 22:39:57    2382450

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Potential Ulster 15...

1. Morgan

2. McKaigue
3. McNamee
4. Hampsey

5. McHugh
6. McGeary
7. Harte

8. R O'Neill
9. Glass

10. MacNiallais
11. Murphy
12. Donnelly

13. McManus
14. McShane
15. McCurry

Lockjaw (Donegal) - Posts: 7468 - 23/09/2021 15:56:38    2382580

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Replying To Lockjaw:  "Potential Ulster 15...

1. Morgan

2. McKaigue
3. McNamee
4. Hampsey

5. McHugh
6. McGeary
7. Harte

8. R O'Neill
9. Glass

10. MacNiallais
11. Murphy
12. Donnelly

13. McManus
14. McShane
15. McCurry"
Some team......

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 3467 - 23/09/2021 16:24:27    2382593

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Replying To Lockjaw:  "Potential Ulster 15...

1. Morgan

2. McKaigue
3. McNamee
4. Hampsey

5. McHugh
6. McGeary
7. Harte

8. R O'Neill
9. Glass

10. MacNiallais
11. Murphy
12. Donnelly

13. McManus
14. McShane
15. McCurry"
A good team, though Rian O Neill is a forward. His brother Oisin is the midfielder, good player too.. MacNiallais not in the top players in Ulster at present, didn't do much on his return to County football this year.

FoolsGold (Cavan) - Posts: 2420 - 23/09/2021 18:02:36    2382620

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The railway cup was massive in the 50s and 60s I believe and I used enjoy watching it late 70scearly 80s but then it became devalued by all by many. I felt Munster and Leinster and Connaught to a degree only had 2nd string teams after that. In fairness Ulster players showed interest but alot of the big players in the other 3 provinces had no interest in playing thus devaluing the competition.

CiarraiMick (Dublin) - Posts: 2790 - 23/09/2021 19:15:01    2382631

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Replying To MesAmis:  "I think your point on polical identity is important. Obviously people from Ulster consider Ulster to be an important part of their make up, I think Munster and Connacht people are similar but maybe not to the same extent as Ulster.

I'm not sure if it exists at all in Leinster, certainly not in Dublin in anyways I don't think.

Personally I've never considered myself a Leinsterman. I'm from Dublin, then Ireland next. I'm no extra link to someone in Longford in comparison to Ulster, Munster or Connacht."
Good point Mesamis. I agree that Ulster definately proud of their province and Connaught to a lesser degree but Munster not as much I think and Leinster definately not great camaraderie. In Munster a bond with the rugby but in gaa nó real bond in Munster. I find Cork in general shout against Kerry in football and shout against Tipp Limerick Clare and Waterford in hurling unless they playing Kilkenny. Most Leinster don't shout for Leinster teams. The west are good supporters of Galway hurling but in football Galway Mayo and Rossies nó great love for each other. Ulster despite the rivalry are great to support one another afterwards.

CiarraiMick (Dublin) - Posts: 2790 - 23/09/2021 20:08:09    2382639

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The Interprovincials died because the circumstances which led to their popularity are long gone. There were no TV stations in Ireland the 1950s, so if someone from Meath wanted to see Christy Ring or Nicky Rackard in action they'd no choice but to head down the country to watch them live. Something not easily done when far fewer people had cars and the roads were far worse, and even then you were relying on there being an appropriate opportunity to watch a game; if Cork were knocked out in the first round and you were busy that weekend, you wouldn't get to see Christy Ring for Cork that year.

The Interprovincials created an occasion where the top players would regularly play each other for all to see. There was no risk of missing Christy Ring playing a Munster QF for Cork because you knew you'd see him playing for Munster in Croke Park.

It goes without saying that today is a different world. There's blanket TV coverage of club games, league games, an expanded championship as well as an infinite amount of footage on TV or online so it's nothing notable to see the best players playing. TJ Reid and Joe Canning have played 100s of games for everyone to see on the TV at this stage, so another game in the Leinster or Connacht colours just means nothing.

Colm O'Rourke had an article a few years ago saying that by the time he played for Leinster in the early 80s the crowds had already stopped coming. In 1971 a Universities Team was added to try and breathe a bit of life into it (even winning the football in 1973). That'll tell you how long the Interprovincials has been on life support.

CastleBravo (Meath) - Posts: 1488 - 23/09/2021 22:18:34    2382661

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My dad will always support the Connacht team in, say, the All-Ireland semi-final or final (even the R***ies).

Earlier this year Leitrim lost two of her greatest ever players, Packie McGarty and Cathal Flynn. Both starred for Leitrim in 50s at a time when Galway were excellent and we couldn't get past them in Connacht; both starred for Connacht in the Railway Cup, getting national attention for their exploits. How great it was that players like these who couldn't enjoy success with their county could get the chance to put it up to the top players from the Kerrys of this world in front of bumper crowds.

Tacaí Liatroma (Leitrim) - Posts: 700 - 23/09/2021 22:34:16    2382666

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Forgot to include this link about Packie McGarty and his exploits: Forgot to include this link about Packie McGarty and his exploits: https://www.gaa.ie/news/packy-mcgarty-rip/

Tacaí Liatroma (Leitrim) - Posts: 700 - 23/09/2021 22:36:00    2382668

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Replying To Tacaí Liatroma:  "My dad will always support the Connacht team in, say, the All-Ireland semi-final or final (even the R***ies).

Earlier this year Leitrim lost two of her greatest ever players, Packie McGarty and Cathal Flynn. Both starred for Leitrim in 50s at a time when Galway were excellent and we couldn't get past them in Connacht; both starred for Connacht in the Railway Cup, getting national attention for their exploits. How great it was that players like these who couldn't enjoy success with their county could get the chance to put it up to the top players from the Kerrys of this world in front of bumper crowds."
Great argument for inter pros. Well done Tacaí.

CiarraiMick (Dublin) - Posts: 2790 - 24/09/2021 10:04:11    2382702

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Replying To CastleBravo:  "The Interprovincials died because the circumstances which led to their popularity are long gone. There were no TV stations in Ireland the 1950s, so if someone from Meath wanted to see Christy Ring or Nicky Rackard in action they'd no choice but to head down the country to watch them live. Something not easily done when far fewer people had cars and the roads were far worse, and even then you were relying on there being an appropriate opportunity to watch a game; if Cork were knocked out in the first round and you were busy that weekend, you wouldn't get to see Christy Ring for Cork that year.

The Interprovincials created an occasion where the top players would regularly play each other for all to see. There was no risk of missing Christy Ring playing a Munster QF for Cork because you knew you'd see him playing for Munster in Croke Park.

It goes without saying that today is a different world. There's blanket TV coverage of club games, league games, an expanded championship as well as an infinite amount of footage on TV or online so it's nothing notable to see the best players playing. TJ Reid and Joe Canning have played 100s of games for everyone to see on the TV at this stage, so another game in the Leinster or Connacht colours just means nothing.

Colm O'Rourke had an article a few years ago saying that by the time he played for Leinster in the early 80s the crowds had already stopped coming. In 1971 a Universities Team was added to try and breathe a bit of life into it (even winning the football in 1973). That'll tell you how long the Interprovincials has been on life support."
And if the post above is a good argument for inter-provincial competition, this one is a good explanation for why they died off in the first place, and why they're unlikely to be resuscitated.

I remember the Railway Cup hurling being played as a blitz-style tournament here in Wexford sometime around the late 1980s (think it was '89). Two semi-finals on the Saturday, and the final on the Sunday.

My late uncle (who used to attend just about every match going) went there on both days, and since I went to just about every match with him, I went on both days too. There was barely a handful there on either day.

So whatever about playing for your province, the days of playing for your province in front of bumper crowds are indeed long gone.

Pikeman96 (Wexford) - Posts: 796 - 24/09/2021 14:38:02    2382758

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Replying To Pikeman96:  "And if the post above is a good argument for inter-provincial competition, this one is a good explanation for why they died off in the first place, and why they're unlikely to be resuscitated.

I remember the Railway Cup hurling being played as a blitz-style tournament here in Wexford sometime around the late 1980s (think it was '89). Two semi-finals on the Saturday, and the final on the Sunday.

My late uncle (who used to attend just about every match going) went there on both days, and since I went to just about every match with him, I went on both days too. There was barely a handful there on either day.

So whatever about playing for your province, the days of playing for your province in front of bumper crowds are indeed long gone."
Crowds wont go unless its given some sort of priority as regards the players selected and its marketed properly.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 3467 - 24/09/2021 17:02:16    2382776

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Replying To Viking66:  "Crowds wont go unless its given some sort of priority as regards the players selected and its marketed properly."
Agreed. 30 years ago provincial rugby was in the same boat. Maybe the GAA should consult their rugby counterparts as to how to make provincial teams more marketable and worth following.

johnocarroll17 (Limerick) - Posts: 325 - 24/09/2021 20:00:51    2382807

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I've nothing against the railway Cup albeit I'd be lying if I said I was bothered about it. Maybe it's time to be realistic and accept its not coming back. Getting players to seriously commit would be very difficult and I don't see promotion /marketing making a huge difference for the same reason that the lower tiers won't be promoted effectively in my opinion,,which is that there's only so much interest to go around, and outside of championship and perhaps the latter stages of the league, the medias priority going forward will be to promote camogie and ladies football.

Galway9801 (Galway) - Posts: 957 - 24/09/2021 20:25:26    2382811

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Replying To johnocarroll17:  "Agreed. 30 years ago provincial rugby was in the same boat. Maybe the GAA should consult their rugby counterparts as to how to make provincial teams more marketable and worth following."
That's a nonsense comparison.

Provincial Rugby didn't grow because one morning they decided to market it more. It grew because after the professionalisation of Rugby, the provinces shifted from exhibition sides to being full time clubs with players getting professional contracts. The whole Rugby environment changed, with new international leagues, European competition and increased broadcasting revenues. Even then this new provincial setup came at the expense of Irish club rugby which decreased in importance.

Not one of those things apply in the case of the GAA provinces.

CastleBravo (Meath) - Posts: 1488 - 25/09/2021 16:39:15    2382882

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Replying To FoolsGold:  "A good team, though Rian O Neill is a forward. His brother Oisin is the midfielder, good player too.. MacNiallais not in the top players in Ulster at present, didn't do much on his return to County football this year."
True. But talent wise I'd have MacNiallais second only to Murphy here in Donegal. Was down at Gaoth Dobhair's recent championship match and the man was on another planet, never mind level.

Really hope he'll commit fully to Donegal in 2022 and demonstrate his class on a national stage again.

Lockjaw (Donegal) - Posts: 7468 - 25/09/2021 19:11:12    2382906

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Replying To CastleBravo:  "That's a nonsense comparison.

Provincial Rugby didn't grow because one morning they decided to market it more. It grew because after the professionalisation of Rugby, the provinces shifted from exhibition sides to being full time clubs with players getting professional contracts. The whole Rugby environment changed, with new international leagues, European competition and increased broadcasting revenues. Even then this new provincial setup came at the expense of Irish club rugby which decreased in importance.

Not one of those things apply in the case of the GAA provinces."
Therein lies the rub - split Prov teams before going Pro ? - Lein 3 (Dubs part of all 3), Uls 3, Muns 2 and Conn 2 spilt teams. I'd rather be entertained than preserve stale inter-county structures.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2162 - 25/09/2021 20:38:47    2382919

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