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Conor McGrath will be hoping to deliver the scores for Cratloe on Sunday. Photograph by John Kelly

Fixture structure must change

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IF the fixtures are structured properly in the county, it is possible for players to play hurling and football with success at club level.

That’s the view of Cratloe star Conor McGrath, who left Pairc na nGael in Limerick bitterly disappointed.

“If the fixtures are structured properly in the county, it’s possible to do both. If they are structured the same as this year, there’s not a hope. The way the championships were run off this year was not conducive to a football and a hurling team doing well.

“We’d be hopeful that the county board will do something about this and a couple of matches in the football and hurling would be played in May, June and July every year, so that we won’t have a situation we had this year,” said McGrath, who was outstanding in attack on Sunday.

Asked if it’s possible to play both codes at inter-county level, the All-Star hurler replied, “I’m not involved in that. That’s up to the lads who are interested to sit down with the managements and work it out.”

On the match he said, “In the first half they gave us a lesson in football. We said at half-time we would try and put a bit of pride back in the jersey in the second half.  It was very disappointing to lose in the end.

“We knew we could not afford to give the ball away the way we had at certain times during the year. If you do that against Crokes, they will punish you heavily.

“That’s what happened in the end. We weren’t precise enough with our passing at certain times.

“We started well but we were lucky to be only seven points down at half-time. We got a run in the second half and they seemed to crumble but they got the points at the end.

“It’s very disappointing after being ahead with a few minutes to go. We had such a good chance. They are an outstanding team and most would have been finished the way we came back at them. They managed to get a couple of excellent points.

“There are not many teams in the country that would have got the leveller and then the winner.

“They worked well to get the chances. We had a couple of minutes to manufacture something but we just couldn’t manage it and that’s the difference between the teams,” the corner-forward said.

He said the second-half performance showed Cratloe are capable of playing at that level.

“Hopefully, we put a bit of pride back in it in the second half. We are a bit unlucky to be coming away with nothing. Maybe we could have taken it to extra time; it would have been fair.”

He paid tribute to “the club lads”.

“They are as fit as anyone in the county is. They keep it going through the year and we just come back in and help out. A lot of credit must go to the lads that are not on the hurling panel,” he concluded.

Sports Editor Seamus Hayes

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