Kilkenny legend John Henderson says that enough isn’t being done between the strongest hurling counties and the rest.
Henderson won three All-Irelands with the Cats, but following his move to Wicklow he has been involved in the small ball game in the Garden County.
Having seen both sides of the coin he believes that the GAA has to do more to foster hurling outside of its traditional heartlands in counties like Kilkenny, Tipperary and Cork.
“It’s a huge gap between Division 1 and Division 3,” said Henderson, speaking in the latest edition of RTÉ’s GAA Podcast, Jones Road.
“Everything seems to be working and all the grants are going the right direction, but there doesn’t seem to be anybody who really cares to know why aren’t any teams coming through.
“Look at the perception that Laois and Wexford are the next in line to get the help and I’m here in Wicklow thinking ‘when will our time come?’
“It’s like the small farmer looking over the fence at the big farmer’s land thinking ‘I could have that if only...’
“I’ve had this argument with my brother Pat and he says to just put in the hard work and you’ll get there, but I have put the hard work in and I know an awful lot of other people who have too all over the county and all over other counties.
"The system holds you back – the system doesn’t allow you out of your box, you have to stay there. That keeps the weak weak.”
In the past Henderson managed Wicklow’s seniors and he has guided his adopted club Bray Emmets to county titles.
He feels that the GAA have to start thinking outside of the box and introduce radical changes – like counties amalgamating at underage level in order to expose more players to a higher standard of hurling.
“The biggest thing, in my experience, is no one has tried to change anything,” he insists.
“It’s the status quo – don’t amalgamate from four counties, don’t bring the minors form Kildare, Meath, Wicklow and Carlow together and put them in the Leinster Championship. No one is ever prepared to try it.
“I was born in Kilkenny and I had the tangible goal of pulling on the jersey and winning an All-Ireland.
“My son puts on a jersey in Wicklow and the best honour he can hope for is to win the Christy Ring or move through the leagues. You get to 23, 24 years of age and you say ‘this is going nowhere’.”