Rigney blasts plan to reduce teams in Leinster SHC

September 07, 2017

Niall Rigney during his days as James Stephens manager

Laois being excluded from the Leinster championship would have a huge effect on hurling in the county, according to former player and manager Niall Rigney.

The O'Moore County could be looking at a second tier provincial competition next year should Special Congress pass a motion on September 30th to only have 10 counties in the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

That would only see Galway, Kilkenny, Dublin, Wexford and Offaly contesting next year's Leinster championship, leaving Laois in 'Tier 2' along with Antrim, Carlow, Kerry, Meath and Westmeath in a bid for promotion in 2019.

"A manager is trying to get players to commit to the cause and to put in a big effort while they all know they won't even be allowed compete in their own provincial championships next year if the proposal is passed. That will turn some players off and would knock back the county in a serious way," Rigney said in today's Irish Independent.

"There's a good core group in Laois now and they should be encouraged, not told they have to win a secondary competition before they can even play in the Leinster Championship.

"It's not just Laois either. You have other Leinster counties too who won't be allowed into their own championship. I can't see how that helps anyone. Counties should be encouraged to take their chance, not told they aren't good enough.

"When I was managing Laois the big thing was to avoid dropping down to Christy Ring level. It would be very hard to get lads to commit fully if they weren't allowed into the Leinster Championship."

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