Will the clash of the ash become a thing of the past?
That’s the great fear in hurling parishes up and down the country, given that healthy ash butts are as scarce these days as modest Limerick supporters.
Indeed, there has been talk of the disease finally heralding the shift to composite hurleys. Some county hurlers have even moved over to bamboo.
However, a different take on the hurling conundrum was articulated to me at a junior championship match in Clare over the weekend.
“All this talk about the impact of ash dieback is complete rubbish. The clash of the ash is already dead.
“You couldn’t get a fella to pull on a sliotar these days if their lives depended on it,” one grizzled old hurling stalwart said.
His accomplice agreed.
“Listen – this old possession hurling has the game ruined. If you whipped on the ball now, the next thing you’d be pulling on is your coat, because you’d be taken off,” he maintained.
“At the rate hurling is going there’ll be old players handing their hurleys down to their sons and grandsons. Ash dieback won’t be an issue.”