Leinster GAA Chairman John Horan has responded to Eddie Brennan's proposal to scrap the Walsh Cup, defending the "important role" that it plays within the Association.

Brennan, manager of Kilkenny's Under-21s - the team that they are using in this year's competition - suggested yesterday that the competition had "run its course". 

Brennan believes that the sheer number of games that some inter-county players line out for must be taken into consideration in any debate. 

He stated: “The amount of matches young lads of 19 to 21-years-old have to play; the last few weeks have really opened my eyes.

“A lot of them are playing Freshers or Fitzgibbon Cup, and there are huge demands. I have seen some of their programmes and they are training four and five days in a row.

“Maybe it’s time to leave this time of the year, leave it to the third level competitions and maybe the Walsh Cup has run its course.”

But Horan hit back in a statement this morning saying, “it is important to again place on record the important role that our January competitions play within our Association.

“The Walsh Cup was established in 1954 and together with the Kehoe Cup senior hurling competition and the O’Byrne Cup senior football competition, they are collectively known as the Accident Tournaments.

“Money generated from the attendances at these games is used to address issues of hardship suffered by players, and by ordinary members of the GAA in Leinster.

“This work is done privately and without fanfare, but is an opportunity for Leinster GAA to play a role at helping out individuals and families in a time of need, whenever such a need arises and help is sought.

“Since the games have moved to the month of January...they play a very important role in helping Leinster counties prepare for the start of the national leagues.

“Such is the pressure for league points that the Walsh, Kehoe and O’Byrne Cups are an invaluable opportunity for them to try out new players."

And Horan also believes that these cups, especially the deciding matches, prove valuable to the career of many players where finals are decided at Croke Park.

“For the hurlers of Dublin, Galway, Wexford and Offaly the chance to play in the Bord na Móna Walsh Cup final at Croke Park later this month is a very real prize," added Horan.

“Likewise the boost enjoyed by the footballers of Longford in their Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup win over All-Ireland champions Dublin last Sunday is a significant event for them."