Tuesday 6 December 2016

Decision on hurling format change may be rescinded

Published 24/03/2016 | 02:30

A controversial decision to allow the Christy Ring Cup winners immediate entry to the All-Ireland senior hurling championships is unlikely to be implemented in its current form. Stock photo: Sportsfile
A controversial decision to allow the Christy Ring Cup winners immediate entry to the All-Ireland senior hurling championships is unlikely to be implemented in its current form. Stock photo: Sportsfile

A controversial decision to allow the Christy Ring Cup winners immediate entry to the All-Ireland senior hurling championships is unlikely to be implemented in its current form.

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Antrim successfully steered a motion through Congress last month, calling for the Ring Cup winners to play in the Leinster Championships in the same year. Under the current arrangement, they join in the following season.

However, a number of problems have arisen, not least that the decision breaches the rule which states that a county cannot compete in Tier 1 (Liam MacCarthy) and Tier 2 (Christy Ring) championships in the same season.

Also, Congress voted at its opening session to retain the existing All-Ireland structure for future seasons, only to accept the Antrim proposal for change on the following afternoon.

There are also issues over the fairness of allowing the Ring Cup winners directly into the Leinster quarter-finals, whereas four Tier 1 counties in the province play in a 'round robin' qualification, with two qualifying for the quarter-finals.

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Effectively, the Tier 2 (Ring Cup) winner would start from a more advanced position in Leinster than Tier 1 counties participating in the 'round robin' series.

It's understood that the Leinster Council are unhappy with that situation. They also fear that the addition of an extra county would lead to fixture problems.

There's also the wider issue that under the change, an Ulster county could compete in four different championships in the same year: Christy Ring, Ulster, Leinster, All-Ireland.

Other complications have also surfaced and are now to be subject of discussions between the GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee, the Leinster Council and Antrim.

Allowing the Ring Cup winners immediate access to Leinster was due to come into effect next year.

Irish Independent

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