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McManus calls on GAA to revamp Leinster relegation

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Former Antrim star Neil McManus has called on the GAA to revamp the relegation path currently Leinster Senior Hurling Championship, insisting that it’s an unfair system that is hindering development.

Carlow were relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup on Sunday after a 4-22 to 2-22 defeat to Antrim, who remain in the competition thanks to that result.

Conal Cunning and James McNaughton netted twice each, while Carlow lost Chris Nolan to a red card at the start of the second half in a tense encounter.

McManus believes that relegation will now hurt Carlow in the long-term and feels that the relegation system is a disadvantage for clubs playing in Leinster, one that teams playing in the Munster championship don’t face.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, McManus said: “I really, really feel for the Carlow senior hurling team this morning because that result yesterday means they’re back into the Joe McDonagh.

“They’ll have to work so hard next year to try and get to a Joe McDonagh final. It’s a really competitive competition to just have a shot at getting back into the Leinster Championship.

“It’s a really unfair system. There’s no relegation in Munster and there’s not a word about that, and yet it’s okay for the likes of Antrim or Carlow to yo-yo up and down.

“I think we should retain them for a minimum of two seasons. If you come up, you get to stay for a minimum of two seasons, that’s how you actually develop an emerging county, you expose them to hurling at the highest level.”

McManus thinks that Carlow will now lose some senior players to retirement as a direct result of their relegation.

“The one thing you can be sure of, is a couple of those Carlow players facing into the Joe McDonagh next year will choose retirement.

“Some of them will choose traveling rather than staying and trying to fight back up, which would have happened in any county after a relegation. So it does nothing for the promotion of the game.

“It’s an issue that the GAA have got to sort out.”

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