Leinster's TJ Reid keeps the sliotar away from Joe Cooney of Connacht during yesterday's final. ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
Proud Provinces

Players and management want to keep Interpros alive, says Dooley

Joe Dooley defended the future of the Interprovincial Championships after watching his Leinster side beat Connacht in yesterday’s hurling decider.

JOE DOOLEY RENEWED his call for better marketing of the Interprovincial Championships after his Leinster hurlers beat Connacht in front of a small crowd in Nowlan Park yesterday.

Just 658 spectators filed through the turnstiles to see 2-2 from Dublin’s Ryan O’Dwyer and 0-10 from Richie Power of Kilkenny help Leinster to a 2-19  to 1-15 win.

The future of the series has come under scrutiny in recent weeks and won’t be helped by yesterday’s attendance figures, but Dooley was quick to point out that players and management are eager to keep the representative series alive.

The timing of the competition and the manner in which it is marketed to the public is key, the Leinster manager said after yesterday’s final.

“I’ve gone on the record as saying that I think it should be played on Paddy’s Day before the All-Ireland club final, and the football should be played before the football final,” Dooley told Midlands 103 Sport. “Play one on a Saturday and one on a Sunday in Croke Park, and market the thing.

The players are very in favour of it, and so I think are anyone that’s involved with the two teams. Hopefully somebody might do something about that in the near future.

Almost 3,000 fans were at Armagh’s Morgan Athletic Grounds for last weekend’s Interprovincial football final between Ulster and Munster, a game praised for its intensity.

While yesterday’s hurling decider was not quite as entertaining, Dooley said that it was a pleasure and privilege to watch some of the country’s top hurlers in action.

“Any time you put the best 15 or 20 players from a province out on the field playing together, the standard is always going to be high because they’re the best players from those counties. Their first touch is going to be good. They’re not picked for no reason.

If you’re picked to play with Leinster, you’re going to want to put your best foot forward as well. You don’t want to let down your team-mates. It’s an honour to wear the jersey or be offered the jersey.

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