Wednesday 18 October 2017

No change to hurling league for 2018, Croke Park confirms

The GAA’s director of games administration Feargal McGill. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
The GAA’s director of games administration Feargal McGill. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The structure of the Allianz Hurling League won't be undergoing a revamp for the 2018 competition, the GAA's director of games administration Feargal McGill has confirmed.

Despite speculation that Division 1 would revert to an eight-team structure McGill said there were no plans to change.

Waterford manager Derek McGrath - who has been supportive of change away from the 1A/1B six-team groups that have been in place since 2012 to reduce pressure on results - referred to possible change in an interview, orchestrated by the Hurling Development Committee (HDC), last week.

Limerick manager John Kiely expressed disappointment after their defeat to Galway on Sunday that there had been no clarity from the GAA around what format would be in place next year.

However, McGill said notice of any potential change in the structure would have to have been provided before the start of this year's competition.

“Prior notice would have to have been given so teams knew what was at stake. It was established two years ago at Central Council that there would be no change for at least three years. We don’t anticipate change.”

The current league structure has been competitive but cut-throat in its nature, which has led to managers like McGrath expressing concern about the lack of opportunity to road-test less experienced players because of the pressure for results and position.

Meanwhile, the GAA could experience ‘sudden death’ finishes to competitive senior matches for the very first time with the introduction of a free-taking competition after two periods of extra-time to decide drawn league quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Two 10-minute periods of extra-time will be used to decide quarter-finals and semi-finals. If the scores are still level at that stage, two further periods of five minutes will be played.

If teams still can’t be separated it moves to the free-taking competition with five nominated free-takers, chosen from those who have played at some stage in the previous 100 minutes or so, taking shots from the 65 metre line.

If they are still deadlocked after five shots it moves to ‘sudden death’ until there is a winner. 

No red-carded player, or black-carded in the case of Gaelic football (‘on the day’ outcomes will apply in the new U-20 competition that replaces U-21 in 2018 and the special U-17 competition later this year) will be permitted to take a free.

All other players and management will be obliged to be off the field of play while the shots are being taken.

For the football competitions, frees will be taken from the 45-metre line.

The venues for the four hurling league quarter-finals were decided yesterday, with Waterford travelling to Pearse Stadium to play Galway, Tipperary heading to O’Connor Park in Tullamore to play Offaly, Cork in the Gaelic Grounds where Limerick host them and Kilkenny at home in Nowlan Park to face Wexford.

All four games are timed for a 4.0 throw-in, to avoid clashes with the final round of football league fixtures.

Clare have home advantage for their relegation play-off against Dublin which will throw in at 4.0 in Cusack Park, Ennis.

Irish Independent

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