National Forum

Railway Cup

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It looks like the end this time now that Connacht is pulling out. Shame on all of us. Always some of the best football you'd wish to see and always a great novelty to see co enemies making common cause. For me, identity is club, county, province and country - in that order. Obviously doesn't matter any more. Though I'm a wee bit cynical about the GAA's attempt to promote it. Box-ticking to allow them to say they had 'tried'; pretty certain they always wanted it to fail.

essmac (Tyrone) - 21/11/2017 14:49:33    2063177

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Heard an interesting suggestion regarding this earlier on Off the Ball AM. They were suggesting playing it the week before the All Ireland. I know this may impact some clubs but additionally would give teams whose counties have been knocked out a 2 week break from championship. The suggestion was to play it over the weekend all in Croke Park, perhaps even on one day and charge 5 euro in. Would give the better players from each county the opportunity to play in the stadium and young fans the opportunity to see competitive matches. You could even try out different application of rules to make it more interesting i.e in hurling could be 2/3 points for sideline, or use some of the rules from the Fenway, sideline from hand likewise in football 6 points for a goal etc. the list of opportunities would be endless.

It is disappointing to see this competition being lost. Especially for the older generation who hold this competition in so much regard.

juicy (Meath) - 21/11/2017 16:06:55    2063184

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100% agree. Don't believe for a minute the powers that be in GAA really tried to work this.
Shame on them

Superglue (Kerry) - 21/11/2017 16:13:32    2063185

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When even the players have little interest in playing in it, then it shows that the Railway Cup should be quietly put down, much like the Oireachtas hurling was nearly twenty years ago.

Between increased commitments at inter-county, collegiate games, and the growth of the All-Ireland club series, there's little room in the calendar for the interpros anyway and the crowds have voted with their feet.

No amount of marketing has proven successful in reviving it, so it's time to stop throwing good money after bad.

Gleebo (Mayo) - 21/11/2017 16:27:21    2063191

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How many of you have ever been to a railway cup game? I've been to one.

gotmilk (Fermanagh) - 21/11/2017 17:19:13    2063196

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Gotmilk

The Railway Cup would sell out Croker every year if all the people moaning about it actually went to the games!

For me, I've never been to a game because I've no interest. Yeah I get that, hypothetically, it'd be the best of the best playing in it and should be of a high quality but for me I'd have no bias or support for a team.

There's nothing about my cultural identity that is Leinster. I just don't think of myself as from Leinster as it isn't really a province like the other 3.

MesAmis (Dublin) - 21/11/2017 18:05:01    2063203

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3 posters so far in favour of retaining the Railway Cup. If any more come forward the number in favour will be getting close to the average attendance at a Railway Cup game.

Fixture list is now crowded enough with the changed championship format. While they're at it hopefully they'll also scrap the O'Byrne Cup, Walsh Cup, Waterford Crystal, and all the other pre-season competitions that are clogging up the schedule.

PoolSturgeon (Galway) - 21/11/2017 18:29:43    2063206

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It looks like it's over. I know the GAA don't want to be getting into loss making exercises but I think they could have kept it going as a one day event. A provincial stadium in the Midlands would the best venue location. Play it on a Saturday to avoid clashing with club fixtures, though naturally players playing for their club on the following day wouldn't be able to commit. The one day event should consist of a Shield final and a Cup final. The winners of both finals should contest the Cup final of the following year. The losers of both finals should contest the Shield final of the following year. It's not an ideal format but it allows for a one day event where all provinces are present in the same match venue. The final pairing will be different every year. Both beaten finalists will have to wait at least two years to contest a Cup final possiblly increasing the appetite to win a Railway Cup final when the opportunity presents itself.

legendzxix (Kerry) - 21/11/2017 18:33:51    2063208

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I attended some in the 70s and there was 50/60,000 in attendance. Played in a couple during the 80s and the crowd was down to a few thousand. The GAA can do NOTHING to make this attractive, or to make people 'provincially' proud at this stage.

realdub (Dublin) - 21/11/2017 18:55:25    2063211

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Its had its day and timely to do away with it.

arock (Dublin) - 21/11/2017 19:42:33    2063213

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Some people saying they would not care if their Provence won or not are missing the point a bit. It is more of an exhibition. Good players playing together and against each other. Games should be quite open and old style as teams would not have time to train together before hand. With the club season supposed to be moving to a calendar year if the inter pros could get their St. Patrick's day slot back and with a bit of promotion I could see them getting decent crowds again, the finals could be a thing for people to do after the parade in Dublin. Maybe if they allowed big squads and unlimited substitutions the semi finals and finals could be played over 2 days (if St. Patrick's day fell on a weekend day this could work well.)

bdbuddah (Meath) - 21/11/2017 20:49:16    2063221

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We're not missing any point, exhibitions are for non-physical sports, our sports without that 'edge' is not our sports. There was an edge back in the day but nowadays, no one gives a damn, with the possible exception of Ulster.

realdub (Dublin) - 21/11/2017 21:13:50    2063222

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Replying To bdbuddah:  "Some people saying they would not care if their Provence won or not are missing the point a bit. It is more of an exhibition. Good players playing together and against each other. Games should be quite open and old style as teams would not have time to train together before hand. With the club season supposed to be moving to a calendar year if the inter pros could get their St. Patrick's day slot back and with a bit of promotion I could see them getting decent crowds again, the finals could be a thing for people to do after the parade in Dublin. Maybe if they allowed big squads and unlimited substitutions the semi finals and finals could be played over 2 days (if St. Patrick's day fell on a weekend day this could work well.)"
Many say that the Railway Cup games were introduced to give players from the so called weaker counties a chance to play at least once a year in Croke Park, it worked well until the 70's ish. The intercounty scene began to change with the help of Kevin Heffernan (RIP) and Mick O'Dwyre they helped it to become more glamourized if you like and the intercounty scene was drawing bigger crowds than ever, the focus then was going off the Railway cup
, to bring some life back into the Railway Cup competition they tried to glamourized it by selecting players from higher profile and elite counties, that kept things afloat for a few years.
Less and less players from weaker counties were asked in and those that were asked in only a couple may have got a chance to play, so through time players lost interest for the obvious reason, some players from the high profile counties were not making them selves available for selection either because they had too much on their plate with the club and the Intercounty scene.
The senior club football and hurling finals played in Croke Park on St. Patricks day is a better and fairer option, IMO.

supersub15 (Carlow) - 21/11/2017 21:22:59    2063224

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It's been on it's last legs for some time. The interest just isn't there, especially from the public. The provincial and All-Ireland club championships have devleoped a lot in the last couple of decades, and rightly so. They are the essence of the GAA and what everyone identifies with. I just dont identify with a Connacht football team. As someone else mentioned, people aren't interested in an exhibition game. There has to be a real passion and sense of association with the team.

WanPintWin (Galway) - 21/11/2017 22:18:01    2063228

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Replying To gotmilk:  "How many of you have ever been to a railway cup game? I've been to one."
I went to a few in Parnell Park, might be early 2000s. It was a great venue for a small enough crowd. A nice bit of skill and a fair bit of hitting in those games. Leinster were playing Connacht and Leinster sprung Graham Geraghty from the bench. I say sprung but it was more like he unleashed himself. I used to love watching Geraghty, a great mix of skill and a hatred of losing. Was watching some of the Asian GAA games on YouTube. My wife is a Filippina and she got some shock when I showed her Bernard Brogan playing for Manila! Why not get a few sponsors onboard, pick 4 provincial teams and give them a trip abroad to show our games to those people unlucky enough never to have seen then, a type of Fenway classic?

GreenandRed (Mayo) - 22/11/2017 06:47:14    2063239

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Unfortunately the games evolving and this competition has become somewhat hindrant in the modern era wher club and county rule.

Vishred (Mayo) - 22/11/2017 07:51:53    2063240

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Replying To Gleebo:  "When even the players have little interest in playing in it, then it shows that the Railway Cup should be quietly put down, much like the Oireachtas hurling was nearly twenty years ago.

Between increased commitments at inter-county, collegiate games, and the growth of the All-Ireland club series, there's little room in the calendar for the interpros anyway and the crowds have voted with their feet.

No amount of marketing has proven successful in reviving it, so it's time to stop throwing good money after bad."
One of the problems is is that there never was any marketing for it.
Anyone ever remember seeing it advertised anywhere?
Fair enough if the genuine interest isn't there, but one thing the GAA didn't lose money on was advertising and promoting it.

Superglue (Kerry) - 22/11/2017 10:13:27    2063249

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Replying To realdub:  "We're not missing any point, exhibitions are for non-physical sports, our sports without that 'edge' is not our sports. There was an edge back in the day but nowadays, no one gives a damn, with the possible exception of Ulster."
Rugby is a sport with a huge physical edge and they get big crowds when the Barbarians play an international team, these rugby matches are defiantly exhibition matches and are usually a good spectacle. Of course the fans won't be as invested in who wins and also players will not have time to train together but that does not mean with a bit of promotion people would not enjoy seeing them. Also players who have come up against each other in the past in county matches now playing against each other in the interpros could give the games a bit of an edge.

bdbuddah (Meath) - 22/11/2017 11:01:03    2063257

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I believe the competition was a wonderful opportunity over the years for players
from weaker counties to win a much valued medal. It is a pity that the GAA have
not got the motivation to revive the competition.

fainleog (Limerick) - 22/11/2017 11:28:23    2063260

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Replying To Superglue:  "One of the problems is is that there never was any marketing for it.
Anyone ever remember seeing it advertised anywhere?
Fair enough if the genuine interest isn't there, but one thing the GAA didn't lose money on was advertising and promoting it."
The finals have been played in a variety of venues abroad, including in Paris, Boston, Rome and Abu Dhabi, which presumably incurred travel and pitch rental costs for the GAA. Martin Donnelly also sponsored the competition for several years, to no avail seemingly.

For those of you suggesting that the format be retained, what measures would you recommend to boost the profile of the Interpros?

Gleebo (Mayo) - 22/11/2017 13:01:18    2063262

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