Friday 21 July 2017

Counties unite in support of changing hurling league structures

Limerick's Jason Forde. Under Limerick’s proposal, the top teams in each group qualify for a home semi-final and would be joined by the winners of two quarter-finals, featuring the second and third-placed finishers in each section
Limerick's Jason Forde. Under Limerick’s proposal, the top teams in each group qualify for a home semi-final and would be joined by the winners of two quarter-finals, featuring the second and third-placed finishers in each section
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Restructuring the Allianz Hurling League to include 14 rather 12 counties in Division 1 has proved the most popular proposal in a list of submissions to Croke Park.

Clare, Kilkenny, Waterford, Limerick, Offaly and Carlow have all proposed the 'two sevens' format, while Cork want eight counties in the top flight and seven in the second group.

Limerick want stronger and weaker teams in each seven-team division, as opposed to the current format which has the top six in 1A and the next six in 1B.

Under Limerick's proposal, the top teams in each group qualify for a home semi-final and would be joined by the winners of two quarter-finals, featuring the second and third-placed finishers in each section.

The proposals are based on the perceived need to provide more games.

Also, by having seven counties in a group, all are guaranteed three home and three away games, unlike the current format where some counties have only two home games. However, seven-county groups increase scheduling difficulties as one team is left idle in each round.

Restrictive

Cork's call for an eight-seven split in Divisions 1A and 1B arises from what they consider a restrictive system.

"The current six-team Division 1A is too competitively structured, allows for little points slippage, does not adequately allow for team experimentation and excludes other attractive pairings from competitive and 'gate' perspectives," notes the Cork submission.

Tipperary are one of the few counties to express satisfaction with the current format but want the League to start earlier in order to avoid teams playing on successive Sundays.

A proposal from Waterford suggests that some League games between neighbouring counties be played in midweek to assist in the promotion of the game.

With the exception of Galway's explosive proposal for an open draw Championship, no major changes are proposed for the All-Ireland series.

Counties were invited to make submissions for changes to the All-Ireland hurling and football championships and the Allianz hurling League.

The hurling proposals will come before a meeting of Central Council on Saturday week but will not be voted on until the November meeting.

A number of proposals for changes to the football championships have also been received but will not be circulated until various clarifications have been received.

Irish Independent

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