LOUTH boss Paddy Kelly has questioned London’s participation in the Nicky Rackard Cup after watching the Exiles dismantle his team in Dowdallshill last Saturday.
London cruised to a massive 6-20 to 1-10 victory to book their spot in the semi-finals and although Kelly acknowledged London were the superior team, he did ponder whether the GAA should have had a re-think before placing a National Hurling League Division Two team into the third tier championship.
“We would have known that we can compete with the likes of Roscommon and Mayo but London are a far stronger team now than what they were at the beginning of their league season. They have more inter county lads now than they had back then and I can’t see them being beaten.
“London would have been regarded as an okay sort of team in recent years but the feedback I’ve been getting from over there is that it is much different now. In the past lads would have used hurling as a social thing but now they are depending on jobs over there from hurling and there is no messing around. They are getting stronger every week which is a sign of the times unfortunately.
“Division Two sides shouldn’t be in the Rackard, it is not really what that level is about. The Christy Ring is really where they should be playing. There wasn’t a weak player in their team.
“The GAA will have to look at the structure of the competition in future”, he added. “They should look at a team’s record in their previous league season and then seed them for the individual championships then. London are in a special position with the amount of players going over there.”
The manner of the defeat leaves Kelly and his players facing a massive task to pick themselves up ahead of Saturday’s back door clash with Roscommon. And he admits that the prospect of facing London in a potential final is not a “great incentive”.
“You can make all the excuses you want but we were very poor. London played with the wind in the first-half and our objective was to try and keep the score down but we gave away some very silly goals.
“Their keeper was able to poc the ball down to our goals on a number of occasions and we didn’t defend it. They got a couple of goals from situations like that where you would expect us to deal with it. Once they got up that big of a score we were on a hiding to nothing.
“The lads are very flat and knowing we could have to play them again is not much of an incentive to be honest”, he added. “It’s a bad result, the lads are feeling very low and they are hurting but hopefully there might be a bit of a sting in the tail for next week.”