Tipp snub request to switch qualifier

June 28, 2017

Cusack Park, Mullingar.
©INPHO/Tom Beary.

All-Ireland champions Tipperary have refused a request from Saturday's All-Ireland SHC qualifier opponents Westmeath to switch their clash to Cusack Park, Mullingar.

When the draw was made last Monday morning, Tipperary were drawn at home against Westmeath in a game that they will be overwhelming favourites to win.

In recent years, when Westmeath have met some of the big guns in the All-Ireland SHC, they have requested that the fixture be a home game for them in a bid to promote hurling in the weaker counties.

Bringing the All-Ireland champions to Mullingar would undoubtedly be a huge boost for the county as in the past Kilkenny have agreed to switching venues, but Tipperary will not be so accommodating.

Westmeath chairman Sean Sheridan revealed to the Westmeath Independent that as soon as the draw was made he was on the phone to both Croke Park and the Tipperary chairman.

"I put a call into Croke Park after the draw was made. Croke Park in principle had no objection to the request, so the next call I made was to the chairman of the Tipperary County Board (Michael Bourke). I spoke with the Tipperary chairman and I asked him if he would consider the proposal of Tipperary travelling up to Cusack Park to play Westmeath," said Sheridan.

"I outlined all the positive aspects to the proposal and how it would be a real shot in the arm in promoting hurling in the weaker counties. I've no doubt that if Tipperary decided to travel to Cusack Park, it would garner huge interest across the wider midland region.

"It would be very beneficial to everyone involved in promoting the game of hurling in what many would see as a weak hurling county."

He added: "Kilkenny have agreed to similar requests in the past. Their county board have always been very pro-active in supporting and helping counties like Westmeath to promote the small ball game. In return we would agree to travel to Kilkenny to play them in any competitive football games."

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