'When it's gone, it will never come back'

November 23, 2023

Leitrim's Joe Murray ©INPHO/James Crombie

Leitrim hurling manager Olcan Conway believes the game will die in the county if the proposal to remove counties with less than five adult hurling clubs from the Allianz Hurling League is accepted.

Five counties – Louth, Fermanagh, Cavan, Longford and Leitrim – are facing the prospect of being excluded from the 2025 League if the controversial recommendation is adopted at a Central Council meeting on December 2.

Fermanagh and Louth GAA issued statements in recent days urging delegates to reject the proposal, while Conway has warned that hurling will disappear forever from Leitrim if it’s passed.

"The GAA's motto is 'where we all belong'; it hasn’t felt like we all belong in the past couple of weeks if you’re a Leitrim hurler. We can be cut loose; cut adrift. We’re expendable. I’ve held my counsel for long enough,” the Derry native wrote in a social media post.

"This is the third attempt to get rid of the Leitrim hurling team or remove us from the league in a year.

"This is just a cost cutting exercise dressed up as something else. There is no plan in place, no estimate on figures, no concrete evidence to show that anything will ever be done.

"There are real, practical solutions here that don't involve killing hurling in Leitrim for the sake of saving money. And make no mistake, that is what the CCCC proposal is all about.

"We know we are a small county. We know we don’t have endless resources. We know that football takes precedence. We’re willing to find solutions but we also expect fair play and not to be made a mockery of.

"Travel expenses are a huge issue and there is no getting away from that fact. Both hurling and football have this challenge. There are a number of lads based in Galway and Dublin etc, but is that their fault? I know nearly all of them come home every weekend and spend as much time in Leitrim as they can."

He added: "Leitrim is a fantastic place to live and most of the people from Leitrim who don’t live here do so through necessity rather than choice. Most of these young men have to leave because of employment opportunities or to go to college.

“I have seen first-hand the effort it takes to get to training and their dedication is now being held up as a problem. We should be commending these lads for their commitment not using it against them."

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