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GAA Interprovincial Championship

  (Redirected from Railway Cup)
A Railway Cup medal (1995)

The GAA Interprovincial Championship (Irish: An Corn Idir-Chúigeach) or Railway Cup (Corn an Iarnróid) is the name of two annual Gaelic football and hurling competitions held between the provinces of Ireland. The Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster GAA teams are composed of the best players from the counties in each province. The games are organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association.

The Railway Cup was a revival of the Railway Shield[1] which ran from 1905 to 1907 (football) and from 1905 to 1908 (hurling). The first Railway Cup competitions (the name is due to the donation of the trophy by Irish Rail) were held in 1927, with Munster winning the first football title and Leinster winning the first hurling title. Presently, Ulster hold the record for the most football Railway Cup wins with 30, while Munster has won the most hurling titles with 43. The longest hurling streak was Munster's six-in-a-row from 1948 to 1953, while Ulster won a football five-in-a-row from 1991 to 1995.

The Railway Cup has gone into severe decline in recent years. Some blame the GAA for this decline due to the low level of promotion given and the lack of a fixed date to be played each year.[2] The finals, held on Saint Patrick's Day, attracted huge crowds in the 1950s and 1960s, however, by the 1990s attendances at the once prestigious competition had reduced to only a few hundred. The All-Ireland Club Finals have superseded them in popularity and have taken over the Saint Patrick's Day fixture in Croke Park.

Hurling Roll of HonourEdit

Province Wins Years won
 
Munster
46 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2016
 
Leinster
29 1927, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1941, 1954, 1956, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014
 
Connacht
11 1947, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2004
 
Ulster
0 Second place: 1945, 1992, 1993, 1995

Football Roll of HonourEdit

Province Wins Years Won
 
Ulster
32 1942, 1943, 1947, 1950, 1956, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016
 
Leinster
28 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1939, 1940, 1944, 1945, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1974, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006
 
Munster
15 1927, 1931, 1941, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1999, 2008
 
Connacht
10 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1951, 1957, 1958, 1967, 1969, 2014

Combined Universities
1 1973

Total wins:

  • Munster: 61
  • Leinster: 57
  • Ulster: 32
  • Connacht: 21
  • Combined Universities: 1

HistoryEdit

 
Munster's Andrew O'Shaughnessy (left) chasing Ulster's Aaron Graffin in the 2008 Railway Cup hurling semi-final

Up to and including 1986, the Inter-pros were played in the Spring, with the semi-finals usually in February and the finals on Saint Patrick's Day.[3] From 1987 to 1989 then were given an Autumn slot, moving back to the Spring in 1991[3] (there was no competition in 1990).[3] 1993 saw the competition played again in the Autumn, but all others from 1991 until 2000 were played in the early part of the year,[3] with the semi-finals even being played in January in 1997, 1998 and 2000.[3] However the rescheduling of the commencement of the National Football and National Hurling Leagues to the start of the calendar year, has seen the Railway Cup moved to the latter part of the year from 2001 onwards.[3] In an effort to combat the declining popularity of the competition, some including Ulster manager Joe Kernan have suggested playing the finals as double-headers with the respective All-Ireland Club Football and All-Ireland Club Hurling Championship finals in the early part of the year in Croke Park and Semple Stadium respectively.[3] The 2009 hurling semi-finals were held in February, and the final took place in March in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.[4] Abu Dhabi joined a list of foreign cities including Boston, Paris and Rome to have hosted finals.[4] Plans to stage the 2014 Inter-Provincial finals in Texas fell through.[5]

Attendances at the matches have fallen.[6] However players seem to love playing in the competition.[6][7] Former Armagh player Martin McQuillan said it gave players not accustomed to success at county level, a chance to taste victory.[6]

On 23 February 2014, Connacht defeated Ulster by 2-19 to 1-7 at Tuam Stadium to win the Inter-provincial football championship for the first time since 1969.

Combined UniversitiesEdit

In 1971 the Universities Council of the GAA (Comhairle na nOllscoil) applied to the Central Council of the GAA for permission to compete in the Railway Cup football and hurling series.[8] The request had been studied by the Executive of the Central Council. The Universities Council estimated that there were about 70 inter-county players in the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon competitions studying at U.C.D, U.C.G., U.C.C., Q.U.B., T.C.D., U.U. Coleraine and St Patrick's Maynooth. At the Central Council meeting held on 23 October 1971, the proposal of Comhairle na nOllscoil was approved unanimously.[9] While the idea was looked upon positively by some elements of the Press as a way of injecting life back into this inter-provincial tournament,[8] other feared that the public would tire of this innovation as they had in the case of the Combined Universities v (Rest of) Ireland tests long before they lingered to an unlamented death[10] and doubted whether the Combined Universities would revive the Railway Cup.[11] Pat McDonnell of UCC and Cork full-back, Texaco Hurler of the Year in 1969, had the honour of captaining the first Combined Universities team to compete in the Railway Cup against Ulster at Croke Park. The University hurlers defeated Ulster in the preliminary round,[12] but were narrowly beaten by Leinster in the semi-final,[13] while the University footballers did not survive the preliminary round of the football Railway Cup.

In 1973 the Combined Universities footballers beat Connacht to win the Railway Cup in a final replay at Athlone.[14] This is the only occasion in the history of the Railway Cup that it was not won by a provincial team. The hurlers again beat Ulster but were again beaten by Leinster in the semi-final. In 1974 both the University hurlers and footballers reached the semi-finals, losing to Munster[15] and Leinster,[16] respectively.

The Railway Cup experiment was meeting criticism from within the Universities sector because it was interfering with University League fixtures.[17] In May 1974 Comhairle na nOllscoil decided to opt out of the Railway Cup competition.

Likely demiseEdit

The fixtures for the 2017 competition were indefinitely postponed after Connacht pulled out, citing fixture demands on players and lack of spectator interest. The Irish Times reported that the other three provinces had "indicated that they believe the end has come for the 90-year-old competition" and no dates were scheduled for the competition in 2018 and beyond.[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "G.A.A. Notes, The Kerryman, 26/03/1927, page 2
  2. ^ Hoganstand.com – GAA Football & Hurling HoganStand.com
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Archer, Kenny (22 October 2008). "Clubbing together would be a real way to help Inter-pros". The Irish News. p. 51. Archived from the original on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Inter-pros start". Gaelic Life. 20 February 2009. p. 31.
  5. ^ "Plan to host Inter-Provincial finals in the United States is shelved". RTÉ Sport. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Scott, Ronan (17 October 2008). "Stars say the cup should stay". Gaelic Life. p. 12.
  7. ^ End of an era as GAA looks to shunt Railway Cups off line! Irish Independent, 17 February 2001
  8. ^ a b Irish Independent, 21 October 1971, p. 22
  9. ^ Sunday Independent, 24 October 1971, p. 30; Sunday Independent, 31 October 1971, p. 29
  10. ^ Irish Independent, 26 October 1871, p. 13
  11. ^ Irish Independent, 29 October 1971, p. 18
  12. ^ Irish Press, 7 February 1972, p. 15
  13. ^ Irish Press, 21 February 1972, p. 15
  14. ^ Irish Independent, 24 April 1973, p. 16
  15. ^ Irish Independent, 18 February 1974, p. 11
  16. ^ Irish Independent, 11 February 1974, p. 9
  17. ^ Sunday Independent, 13 January 1974, p. 26
  18. ^ "Provinces accept that Railway Cup has run out of track". The Irish Times. 24 November 2017.

External linksEdit