Sport Hurling

Thursday 23 March 2017

Galway propose 'open draw' for MacCarthy Cup

The Liam McCarthy Cup
The Liam McCarthy Cup
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

AN open draw for the All-Ireland SHC, a Champions League-style group stage for the U-21 competition and a complete overhaul of their club championship are among the 79 recommendations outlined by the Galway Hurling Review Group (GHRG).

The group was set up in the wake of Galway's disappointing Liam MacCarthy campaign this year.

It also found that while the county's participation in the Leinster championship was widely welcome, there was no appetite to join the province at minor and U-21 grades.

"The almost unanimous feedback from clubs, players and officials indicates that there is no appetite for the county minor and U-21 teams to participate in the Leinster championship," the report states.

The review was headed up by former GAA president Joe McDonagh and included former managers Cyril Farrell and Conor Hayes, and former All Stars Sean Silke, Pete Finnerty and Ollie Canning among others.

Most interestingly, the report stated that Galway "should develop and solicit support from other counties for an open-draw All-Ireland series at inter-county senior championship level."

However, any such move is likely to be met with strong opposition, particularly from Munster authorities.

The review also stated that the U-21 championship should be divided into four groups of four teams -- 16 teams competed in the 2011 championship -- with the winners of each group qualifying for the semi-finals. It is also suggested that the trial continue for two years at least.

"We know hurling needs to be improved. The U-21 championship is a high-quality competition and this would be a way of improving it," said McDonagh.

"This proposal lends itself without conflicting with the strongly held views about the provincial championships in Leinster and Munster. It is not a trial run for doing it at senior, but it's worth experimenting."

The review also called for a hard-line approach to negotiating with Leinster regarding a possible extension to their involvement in the provincial championship, including the staging of home games in Galway. Under the current terms, Galway must play their matches within the confines of the province.

"We should start to develop a strong negotiation proposition to secure better terms and conditions including home games and increased grant allocations from the Leinster Council when renegotiating possible continuing participation in Leinster after 2013."

Irish Independent

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