Louth hurling captain Peter Fortune has made an impassioned plea to the powers-that-be to support those who are keeping hurling alive in the so-called ‘weaker’ counties.
A recent proposal to remove Louth, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Cavan and Longford from the Allianz Hurling League was only withdrawn after a backlash across the country.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Allianz League Sunday programme, Fortune stated: “The fact I'm sitting here and Louth hurling is being discussed is a significant step forward, but it's only a first step, and it has to do a lot more; we need help. I’m a St Mullin’s man from Carlow, where I was sent to training at four years of age, and I never looked back.
“That was my hurling journey. That journey is not there for children in all of these counties, and that is an issue. The game will sell, but at the moment, we don’t have enough kids to see it. They only see snippets of it here and there.
“There’s a generation of hurlers that have felt this frustration. I have only been with Louth for five years and felt it. There are lads who have come through this structure from underage, and it is amazing where they are. They still have that passion and drive.
“There's a generation of hurlers crying out we don’t want the next generation to feel like we do. We don’t want the next generation to bang their heads off the wall for 10 years and feel like they are in the same position.
“We are telling them we will do some of the work, but volunteers can only get us so far.”
He added: “People might not realise, but hurling is hanging on in these counties, and the same people that have kept it alive for the last couple of years are keeping it alive today.”
What needs to happen for hurling to survive and then thrive where it faces difficulties? Peter Fortune and Joe Fortune are not short of ideas. pic.twitter.com/B6Rm3LB2pD— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) February 11, 2024