Galway’s place in Leinster hurling will take another major step forward if they reach the Walsh Cup Final which, for the first time, will be played in either Ballinasloe or Athenry on February 6.
Allowing the final to be played in the west is the latest move in an agreement that has seen the tribesmen compete in the Leinster SH championship for the past two years and which is set to continue until at least 2013.
Giving John McIntyre’s side home advantage if they reach the Walsh Cup Final can be regarded as a generous gesture on the part of the Leinster Council and could lead to championship games being played outside the province in the coming years.
Leinster CEO Michael Delaney believes that having Galway play in their provincial championship has been positie for both parties:
“I certainly believe that the arrival of Galway and Antrim has been good for both counties and for Leinster. Prior to that, the Leinster championship was struggling badly. It has been better over the last two years”.
Galway Hurling Board chairman Joe Byrne has also said that there is considerable support within the county for competing in Leinster at U-21 level although not at minor grade. He agreed with Delaney that the move to Leinster has been beneficial:
“It’s working for both of us and what we’re now trying to do is get a win-win situation across a number of fronts. We’ll be meeting the Leinster Council again shortly to discuss the U-21 and minor situation”.