Munster fear round-robin move would 'close down' club hurling
Published 25/01/2013 | 05:00
The Munster and Leinster Councils are both strongly opposed to a Hurling Development Work Group (HDWG) proposal to radically alter future provincial hurling championships.
The proposal is one of two that will go before Central Council tomorrow seeking change to the way the championships are set out beyond 2014.
The basic tenet of the work group proposal is to run off the Leinster and Munster championships on a round-robin basis to increase the number of games in each competition.
However, Munster chairman Sean Walsh has claimed the proposal would "close down" club hurling for the months of May, June and July, despite the provision of 'club weekends' in the document.
"Basically, what they are proposing is a Champions League-style operation for the Munster championship. If they decide to vote for this, it's a decision to close down club hurling in the months of May, June and July," he said.
"You have eight senior championship matches, nine including a final, then you have the play-offs. In the middle of all that you have the Munster U-21 championship.
"They are talking about linking in dates for county championship matches. There is no county manager that would allow it.
"They can put all the dates they want to set aside for club fixtures, but the county managers will ride roughshod over that if there are vital games to be played."
A Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) proposal to reduce the number of teams in the Liam MacCarthy Cup from 15 to 13 between 2014 and 2016 was voted on by Central Council in December, when the result was 17-17.
A number of delegates abstained pending consultation with their counties, but this proposal is now back on the agenda and Leinster Council have broadly given it their backing.
It ring-fences the participation of five counties in the Leinster championship until 2016 – Kilkenny, Galway, Offaly, Dublin and Wexford – with the other five counties being reduced in numbers by two over a three-year period.
"The consensus of our meeting on Wednesday night was to back the CCCC proposal...even if it will impact on some of our counties," said Leinster chairman Martin Skelly."
"Under the terms of the work group proposal only five could contest it in 2014 and six in 2015."
Skelly echoed his Munster counterpart's views that the impact on club fixtures would be negative. "Club fixtures would be difficult to fit in at such a crucial time of the year," he stated.