Interprovincial Championship

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A Railway Cup medal (1995)

The 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 Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Ulster teams are composed of the best players from the various counties in the province. The series of games is organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association.

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.[1] 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 The All-Ireland Club Finals have superseded them in popularity and have taken over the Saint Patrick's Day fixture in Croke Park. Since 2001 the tournament has been sponsored and promoted by Clare businessman Martin Donnelly and a resurgence in popularity has occurred. In 2005 the winners were Munster in hurling and Leinster in football.

Following the success of the Martin Donnelly Interprovincial hurling final played in Boston in 2005, the 2006 football final was also played there on the weekend of 21 October, while the hurling final was played as a curtain raiser to the International rules football first test at Pearse Stadium, Galway on 28 October.

Hurling Roll of Honour[edit]

Province Wins Years won
Flag of Munster.svg
Munster
45 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
Flag of Leinster.svg
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
Flag of Connacht.svg
Connacht
11 1947, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2004
Flag of Ulster.svg
Ulster
0 Second place: 1945, 1992, 1993, 1995

Football Roll of Honour[edit]

Province Wins Years won
Flag of Ulster.svg
Ulster
31 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
Flag of Leinster.svg
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
Flag of Munster.svg
Munster
15 1927, 1931, 1941, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1999, 2008
Flag of Connacht.svg
Connacht
10 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1951, 1957, 1958, 1967, 1969, 2014

Total wins:

  • Munster: 60
  • Leinster: 57
  • Ulster: 31
  • Connacht: 21

History[edit]

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.[2] From 1987 to 1989 then were given an Autumn slot, moving back to the Spring in 1991[2] (there was no competition in 1990).[2] 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,[2] with the semi-finals even being played in January in 1997, 1998 and 2000.[2] However the rescheduling of the commencement of the National Football and National Hurling Leagues to the start of the calendar year, has saw the Railway Cup moved to the latter part of the year from 2001 onwards.[2] 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.[2] The 2009 hurling semi-finals were held in February, and the final took place in March in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.[3] Abu Dhabi joined a list of foreign cities including Boston, Paris and Rome to have hosted finals.[3] Plans to stage the 2014 Inter-Provincial finals in Texas fell through.[4]

Attendances at the matches have fallen.[5] However players seem to love playing in the competition.[5][6] Former Armagh player Martin McQuillan said it gave players not accustomed to success at county level, a chance to taste victory.[5]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hoganstand.com – GAA Football & Hurling HoganStand.com
  2. ^ 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. Retrieved 22 October 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Inter-pros start". Gaelic Life. 20 February 2009. p. 31. 
  4. ^ "Plan to host Inter-Provincial finals in the United States is shelved". RTÉ Sport. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Scott, Ronan (17 October 2008). "Stars say the cup should stay". Gaelic Life. p. 12. 
  6. ^ End of an era as GAA looks to shunt Railway Cups off line! Irish Independent, 17 February 2001

External links[edit]