Leinster and Munster clash over format for hurling qualifiers
Munster and Leinster are headed for a clash at Congress on Saturday week over an attempt to change the All-Ireland hurling qualifier rules.
Leinster are seeking a change so that an open draw applies in the first round, while Munster want the existing format to continue. It guarantees that none of the three Munster counties involved can draw each other.
Instead, they are drawn against three Leinster counties, with the remaining pairing comprising two others from the eastern province.
Leinster are proposing an open draw among all eight counties, citing fairness and equality as their motives.
"As things stand, it's the only seeded draw among losing teams in the hurling and football qualifiers" said Leinster PRO Pat Teehan.
"The first round hurling qualifiers are for the eight counties beaten in the Munster (3) and Leinster (5) quarter-finals and semi-finals, so why not put them all in the draw drum and have an open draw. The current format is unfair."
However, Munster Council chairman, Robert Frost, disagrees.
"The system that's in place has worked well. I can't see why it should be changed," he said.
Munster counties will fight to retain it as they want to avoid the possibility of two being drawn against each other.
The Leinster quarter-finals includes the top two from the 'round robin' section, which is at the weaker end of the market, whereas five Munster counties are serious All-Ireland contenders.
Clare, Limerick and Cork were Munster's representatives in the first-round qualifiers last year while Leinster's five were Offaly, Dublin, Laois, Wexford and Westmeath. The Munster trio won their ties by a combined total of 40 points while Dublin easily beat Laois before eliminating Limerick in the second round.
If Leinster's proposal is passed, the new draw system will apply from next year.