Hurling fraternity unified in its praise of Cheddar Plunkett's carefully considered analysis 3 months ago

Hurling fraternity unified in its praise of Cheddar Plunkett's carefully considered analysis

Paul Coady stated Carlow's case on Thursday evening.

The mistreatment, the plight of the Joe McDonagh Cup counties, he's had enough. He's not the only one.

Cheddar Plunkett has been banging the drum for weeks on end on The GAA Hour Hurling Show. Articulately, passionately, the Laois man's measured, incisive and often witty analysis of this subject (and others) has earned him plenty of plaudits along the way.

His analysis has gone down a treat with GAA Hour listeners.

From criticising fellow some fellow analysts for their irresponsible comments on the Waterford and Cork senior hurlers recently to making the case for the one-handed pick-up, whatever subject the former Laois manager delves into in the hurling, he always does so with information, with care and with the best wishes of the hurling sphere close to hand.

Listening to him talk about hurling is like listening to a scientist talk about their formula, an entrepreneur talk about their idea.

The Joe McDonagh Cup is closest to Cheddar's heart though, and any time host Colm Parkinson takes him in the direction of the Laois, Offaly or Carlow hurlers etc, there are a few moving minutes guaranteed.

That was the case on Wednesday's show.

Cheddar's thing has always been to raise the profile and the practice of hurling in what are the lesser off counties and to try make the All-Ireland hurling championship not just a nine-team competition, but a 12, 14 or 16 team tournament.

He took it up from there.

"A lot of the time when I'm talking about this, I seem to be degrading the Joe McDonagh championship, its worth, its value and all of that. I don't mean to do that. What I really want to say is a serious look needs to be taken at how we can raise the quality of hurling and players in four, five or six other counties..."

Carlow, winners of the Joe McDonagh Cup 2018 and participants in waiting of the Joe McDonagh Cup 2020, are the perfect example.

"This is the best Carlow team I've seen in my time. Obviously in the last couple of years, they've done an awful lot of work on the development level into hurling in Carlow - under-21 and minor teams. That could be just a generational thing, or it could be a bit of both - we don't know - but the opportunity is there at the minute to build on that. You certainly will not build on it by getting your flagship team back down to a secondary competition again, and expect them to maintain the ambition and the performance levels at Leinster championship levels..."

"Everybody knows it doesn't work like that, you reset your ambitions and goals and all of those things."

"One of the main things is that the pace of the games in the Joe McDonagh is very different to championship hurling at the top level. It is hugely different, and unless you're playing at that level the whole time to learn things, well then it's not going to happen because you'll drop down to the Joe McDonagh Cup and though you'll do your damndest not to let this happen, you'll say 'look I've been playing at the Leinster championship, I can take a year out here in terms of performance improvement..."

"I just don't see it (happening) Wooly. If you ask me this question anymore I'm just going to refuse to answer it because I'm just sickened by the lack of interest in GAA HQ, in Croke Park, in Leinster councils and all of that - which have the responsibility and the accountability and all of that.

"Just throwing some coaches into a county is not sufficient. The top counties are already doing that and more. You need to sprint to catch up. We're not anywhere near that...I will say this too Wooly, if those counties, teams, clubs and supporters are not interested in doing that, I wouldn't give them any money. I think the counties have to show their own ambitions and vision for hurling first."

"I think if somebody came up with a project plan for this, overseen by serious, serious people - project managers with the experience of delivering a sports programme like this - when you do that you can come back with a really good template of what would work in each of these counties..."

We know who we'd give the job to...

Listen and watch the full discussion here.