Saturday 23 September 2017

'Round robin' format could work well in hurling too - Brennan

Former GAA president Nickey Brennan. Photo: Matt Browne Sportsfile
Former GAA president Nickey Brennan. Photo: Matt Browne Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A 'Super 8' format for hurling, similar to what Congress agreed for football last weekend, is worth exploring, according to former GAA president Nickey Brennan.

Concerns have been expressed that hurling will be swamped by football's 'round robin' series, which replaces the All-Ireland quarter-finals from 2018 on a three-year experimental basis.

It will leave the latter stages of the football championships with 15 games (12 round robin, two semi-finals and the final), whereas hurling will have only five games (two quarter-finals, two semi-finals and the final) in the same period.

profile "Obviously it's early days but having something similar in football and hurling would be interesting. Ideally, we'd have a top 10 in hurling but that might be hard to fit in from a fixtures' viewpoint," said Brennan (above).

However, he believes that a top eight would work, adding greatly to hurling's profile.

"It should be possible to run it at the same time as the football games. That would generate huge interest, having the two 'round robin' series on together. Playing some games on Friday nights might work too," said Brennan.

It would be 2019 at the earliest before a hurling 'Super 8' could be introduced. Obviously much will depend on how the new football system fares, but if it's seen to be a success, pressure will mount quickly for hurling to be given a similar format.

Brennan said that if the 'round robin' applied in hurling, the Leinster and Munster champions would probably expect some reward for winning the provincial titles, which could be facilitated by giving them two 'home' and one 'away' game.

Brennan, whose intervention at Congress last Saturday helped defuse what appeared to heading for a fraught situation over Club Players Association recognition, has now called for calm on all sides. He suggested during the debate that the motion calling for the CPA to be officially recognised should be withdrawn, pending discussions. Wexford and Tipperary, who were co-sponsoring the motion, agreed.

"It's time now to stop the rhetoric and have a bit of reflection. Everyone has to accept that Congress is the ultimate authority in the GAA and that won't change. Congress will never accept players making big decisions on their own. We need a bit of calm now," he said.

Irish Independent

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