It is always a pleasure getting to sit down with a proper hurling man.
You do not get more proper and passionate than Wexford’s 1996 All-Ireland winning manager Liam Griffin. We sat down with Liam for over forty minutes where he told Scoreline why he feels hurling is no longer in the top 10 most played sports in Ireland, he explains the issues with the modern game from a spectator’s perspective and he ranks Kilkenny’s chances of ending their eight-year wait for an All-Ireland title under new manager Derek Lyng;
“I would never despair for Kilkenny, since the time Moses was a small child Kilkenny have been great hurlers, and they still are. I love Kilkenny hurling, I love the way they play, they are tough and hardy and they are great players. From my perspective, Kilkenny will never be in the doldrums. It might be eight years (since they won an All-Ireland) try 54 years!”
“Derek Lyng needs time, as long as they do not go soccer-esque with this thing, and start sacking fellas because they are not winning All Irelands in the first year, I guarantee you in the next seven or eight years you will see Kilkenny back again with a team, and the standard will never dip too low, it will always be high.”
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Limerick of course is always on the lips of people when talking about the current game. The Treaty is on course for four in a row with no sign of stopping and find themselves going up against new managers in many counties. Derek Lyng along with Michael Donoghue, Davy Fitzgerald, Liam Cahill and Pat Ryan are all recently ratified managers with the likes of Daragh Egan and Henry Shefflin coming into their second term in charge.
By contrast, John Kiely has been in charge of Limerick since 2016, making the step up similar to Derek Lyng from an under-21 setup after an All-Ireland victory. This forward-thinking and clear infrastructure is why Liam thinks the defending All Ireland champs are on top;
“Limerick has everything going for them and that is the bottom line. There is no point in people in Kilkenny or Wexford whinging about it.”
“They have three universities in the city of Limerick. they got the national centre for sport in UL, so they have all that feeder system. They have JP McManus backing, which is fantastic.”
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“So they have the infrastructure there and have brought up the system in Limerick called “Raising the Treaty”, they developed it from underage up and now are really strong. Now, I think we might be playing them the wrong way.”
Listen back to the full 40-minute interview with Liam below on Scoreline Extra: