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Kerry join Tipperary in withdrawing from the upcoming McGrath Cup

Kerry are the defending champions.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

KERRY HAVE BECOME the second inter-county side to withdraw from the McGrath Cup in the past few days.

The Munster pre-season competition begins at the end of December to facilitate the Allianz Football League which starts on the weekend of 27/28 January.

Since third-level colleges were excluded two years ago, the McGrath Cup has been run with two groups on a round-robin basis.

Kerry are the defending champions, but they’ve decided not to participate this year.

“We had a meeting with the Munster Council last Wednesday night and found out Tipperary were withdrawing from the competition,” explained County Committee chairman Tim Murphy to Radio Kerry.

“Then we got a series of scheduled dates for the competition, starting on Saturday, 30 December.

“The final being on 21 January, if we did happen to get to the final, would be just a week before the first national league game in Killarney.

“We just felt our preparations would be better served by concentrating on training as opposed to the McGrath Cup. We felt it was a very intensive six weeks with one bye, so that was the reason.

“The fact Tipperary withdrew meant you’d five consecutive games so absolutely we’ll keep our options open, absolutely.”

Murphy also said the scheduling of McGrath Cup games in midweek was another red flag. He added that they’ll have another look at the decision in 12 months’ time.

Liam Kearns stated this week that the Premier County were opting out to allow them concentrate on the start of the league.

Tipperary will begin 2018 in Division 2 and open their campaign on 27 January against Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Kerry host Donegal in Killarney in their Division 1 opener the same day.

It remains to be seen how the rest of the counties in Munster will react to the news that Tipperary and Kerry are no longer involved.

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