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    Promoted creatively, the AIL could be....



    Promoted creatively, the AIL could be very successful
    <DIV =LeadPara>VERY often among GAA people, when the thorny subject of payment for players is introduced, the nay-sayers point to rugby as an example of how things went badly wrong within local clubs when that sport went professional. </DIV>
    <DIV =LeadPara>I wonder though, how right are they? The introduction in 1990 of the All-Ireland League was one of the best things that ever happened to Irish rugby. Prior to that the rugby club scene was confined and excited major support only on provincial cup days, days that were few and far between for most. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>For league games, and again whether at junior or senior level, support was marginal, confined in most cases to a dedicated few. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>With the AIL, however, came massive interest and massive support, and club rugby was rejuvenated. The general media assumption was, of course, that the big Dublin clubs would dominate, with real competition from Ulster. The provincial boys from Limerick and Cork? Well, they’d compete, they’d fight, they’d be tough, they’d be physical, they’d put it up to the Dublin/Ulster axis but sure God help them, they simply didn’t have the class, did they? </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The reality was very different. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Cork Con won the first championship, Limerick went on to become the dominant city, Shannon the dominant club (eight titles to date, including a four-in-a-row), as club rugby became a real force. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Then came professionalism and the clubs, the AIL, went into decline – or so goes the popular argument. But is it that simple? I don’t think so. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>What really hurt the AIL, hit the attendance figures, was the rise of the Heineken Cup and the success of Munster especially. What people tend to overlook is this; outside of the international games, interest in rugby was never very high in Ireland. It was confined to just a few select areas. The AIL sparked a broader interest, which grew again with the Heineken Cup, and has continued to grow since then, to the point where I would say that interest in rugby in this country is now at unprecedented levels. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The problem from the point of the clubs, however, is that this interested fan base has either left them in recent years to follow the provinces, or by-passed them entirely. I don’t see this as having been caused by the introduction of professionalism, I see it as just a natural progression. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Where the introduction of professionalism did hurt a lot of clubs, however, was in the amount of club cash that was handed over to their own professional players, cash which, in a lot of cases, those clubs could ill afford. Bad management, that was all, bad book-keeping, and it’s up to individual clubs to sort that our for themselves. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>THE RUGBY fans who have forsaken the AIL for the Munster and Ireland fast-rolling bandwagon don’t know what they’re missing. I’ve been going to these games from the outset – as a fan for the first few years, before I got into this business – and I’m telling ye this, the rugby is better. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The players are bigger, stronger, fitter, faster, more skilled in most facets of the game (scrummaging is still scrummaging); game-plans are more adventurous, more sweeping and more inclusive. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>In short, it’s a better spectacle. Clubs are just as committed, ancient rivalries just as ferocious, new rivalries built and maintained. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Certainly there have been casualties, big clubs losing ground along the way, but what of the flip s
    Seas suas agus troid!

    #2
    <DIV>Interesting. </DIV>
    <DIV>It's actually good to see the AIL being advertised at the moment. It's all over the billboards of Limerick with the Munster lads in their club jerseys.</DIV>
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    Comment


      #3


      The AIL could make a comeback yet, its better value than the Magners League for sure.


      I'd like to see the Magners League ditched and replaced by home and away interpro's, thats 6 games, played in the weeks before the HEC games doubling as warmup games. After that its the AIL with 2 pools, thus eliminatingtheneed forteams from say Cork having to waste time and moneygoing to Belfast. The top 2 in each pool play off in the semi finals.

      Comment


        #4
        A max. of 15 real games in a season and even then only if you get to the HEC final?
        A total of 6 home games in the year?
        A pro game building up to an amateur competition?

        [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]

        Shameless self promotion time ladies and gents!
        Munster: Early Season
        Munster: Escape from Pool of Death
        Munster: HEC Champions 2007/2008
        Munster: Full Season Highlights.

        Comment


          #5
          I agree, I want to see less and less top class rugby.

          Comment


            #6


            Originally posted by Cathal
            A max. of 15 real games in a season and even then only if you get to the HEC final?
            A total of 6 home games in the year?
            A pro game building up to an amateur competition?

            [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]

            How many times in a seasondo Munster put out the first 15 at the moment?


            Who wants to see the Munster seconds / thirds play against Border Rievers etc? Edit - would you consider these to be real games?





            Comment


              #7


              Wildrover - we had that b/4. It was a complete and utter disaster. No thanks.


              My computer thinks I'm gay
              What's the difference anyway
              When all the people do all day
              Is stare into a phone

              Comment


                #8
                Sorry - the standard of play in AIL simply isn't good enough.

                If it was made completely amatuer, it might do well again.

                Comment


                  #9


                  Anyone read Brendan Fannings book and the chapter on club rugby? Interesting reading.As for the standard of the AIL it's no where near as bad as people make out. Think of the 'halycon' days of the early 90s, the standard of rugbywas terrible, the only reason it caught theimagination was because wewere getting one over Shannon or Garryowen or some Dublin club. Ask any wingers back then how many times they saw the ball compared to nowadays.

                  Comment


                    #10

                    Originally posted by wildRover

                    Originally posted by Cathal
                    A max. of 15 real games in a season and even then only if you get to the HEC final?
                    A total of 6 home games in the year?
                    A pro game building up to an amateur competition?

                    [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]

                    How many times in a seasondo Munster put out the first 15 at the moment?


                    Who wants to see the Munster seconds / thirds play against Border Rievers etc? Edit - would you consider these to be real games?
                    Off the top of my head: in all HEC games (so up to 9 a year), as many of the ML games as possible while sometimes resting players (so what, up to about 12 games in the ML?) so that's 21 games.

                    More people than who want to see any single AIL match, bar the playoffs maybe.


                    It is pure fantasy (at best) and idiocy (at worst) to hope to organise the season as you have.
                    Shameless self promotion time ladies and gents!
                    Munster: Early Season
                    Munster: Escape from Pool of Death
                    Munster: HEC Champions 2007/2008
                    Munster: Full Season Highlights.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by kellysullivan


                      Anyone read Brendan Fannings book and the chapter on club rugby? Interesting reading.As for the standard of the AIL it's no where near as bad as people make out. Think of the 'halycon' days of the early 90s, the standard of rugbywas terrible, the only reason it caught theimagination was because wewere getting one over Shannon or Garryowen or some Dublin club. Ask any wingers back then how many times they saw the ball compared to nowadays.


                      Is the book good, I was thinking of getting it?


                      There was some great games in the early 90's by the way....proper rugby,and not this Mangers league,players disinterested s**te, although every league needs its time to grow......
                      Seas suas agus troid!

                      Comment


                        #12


                        Originally posted by Dermot G
                        Sorry - the standard of play in AIL simply isn't good enough.

                        If it was made completely amatuer, it might do well again.

                        It is of course chicken and egg Dermot, the players who make up the extendedMunster squad would be playing in the AIL every week instead of playing in sh1te matcheslike the Cardiff game last weekend.


                        The AIL standard would be much higher as a result.


                        Comment


                          #13


                          i once spoke to a munster panelist,(not on it anymore),a few years back,when he was getting a fewceltic league games when the internationals were away.and he told me he'd actually prefer to be playing with his club,rather than going to scotland or wales and playing in front of a couple of thousand people,in the middle of winter.


                          i mean come on lads,deep down who cares about the magners league? half the time its only the second string playing against the likes of the borders or connacht.


                          shannon,with all its fringe pro players would beat connacht or the borders.


                          im with you on this wildrover.even if you dont ditch the magners league altogether,then at least split it into 2 groups or something,so we dont have to put up with so many games like last fridays one.theres no point having so many games where the teams arent even putting out their first choice teams.


                          i find it odd tha so many people say the AIL,is a poor standard,yet the fact is year after it produces top class pros,who go straight into provincial teams,or in many cases go to england for a contract


                          g\'wan bruff!!

                          ``The answer is not heavy- handed regulations that crush the entrepreneurial spirit and risk- taking of American capitalism. That\'s what\'s made our economy great.\"
                          -Barack Obama


                          \"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics\"
                          -thomas sowell

                          Comment


                            #14


                            Originally posted by epaddy
                            I agree, I want to see less and less top class rugby.

                            do yopu really think that games like last fridays game between connacht and borders was top class rugby,or even cardiff vs. munster 2nds.there very little top class rugby in the magners league.thats why so few people go to watch it
                            g\'wan bruff!!

                            ``The answer is not heavy- handed regulations that crush the entrepreneurial spirit and risk- taking of American capitalism. That\'s what\'s made our economy great.\"
                            -Barack Obama


                            \"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics\"
                            -thomas sowell

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Big crowd in Cork, and a small one in T.P.

                              Says it all.

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