Sunday 17 December 2017

Cork propose 'super eight' quarter-finals in hurling

'A number of motions related to facilitating the playing of club games will also be down for discussion.' Stock photo: Sportsfile
'A number of motions related to facilitating the playing of club games will also be down for discussion.' Stock photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Plans by the GAA to reform the hurling championship by playing the Munster and Leinster Championships on a five-team round robin basis face a number of counter motions at a Special Congress later this month.

Tipperary, Dublin and Cork have all submitted alternatives to the Central Council motion on reform of the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Tipperary are seeking a knockout/losers group in both provincial championships, potentially allowing for a team to lose twice and still reach a Munster final. Tipp propose two quarter-finals with the winners advancing and the team that gets a bye playing one of the beaten quarter-finalists. The winners of that game would advance to the semi-finals, while the losers would then play the other beaten quarter-finalist for the last semi-final place.

Cork want the All-Ireland quarter-finals to expand to eight teams and the divided into two groups who would play three games each in a round robin at that stage, in similar vein to football's new 'super eight'. To achieve this, provincial winners and finalists from Munster and Leinster and four first round qualifier winners would make up the last eight.

Dublin also want eight-team quarter-finals but differ from Cork in that they are looking for straight knockout instead of round robin. The Cork and Dublin motions want the current provincial championship structures to remain the same.

The Central Council motion allows for the establishment of a tier two championship involving six teams initially - Laois, Westmeath, Carlow, Kerry, Antrim and Meath - but with just five teams in 2019. However, there is no link to the Liam MacCarthy Cup for any of these teams.

Laois, Offaly and Meath have all submitted similar motions calling for the tier two finalists playing the third-placed teams in the provincial championships in preliminary All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Wicklow have also submitted a motion, calling for the status quo to be maintained for the Ring, Rackard and Meagher Cups and not to play them on a round robin basis.

Circulated

All the motions have been circulated to counties for consideration along with motions relating to the All-Ireland U-21 and minor championships.

It is proposed by Central Council that Galway and any Ulster teams will play in the Leinster U-21 Championship but Offaly have countered this by proposing that the Tribesmen play in the Munster U-21 Championship instead.

A number of motions related to facilitating the playing of club games will also be down for discussion. From the end of the National Leagues, challenge matches will only be permitted from Monday to Wednesday, unless there are special exemptions for the official opening of pitches. It is proposed to impose a penalty of forfeiture of a home league match for counties breaking that rule if it is passed.

A similar penalty will apply to counties who undertake training weekends or warm-weather training camps after the league finals and outside the 10-day or 17-day window (before All-Ireland finals) prior to a championship match that Central Council are hoping to introduce - different to the existing 13-day and 20-days windows that give inter-county managers full access to players prior to a championship game.

Other motions will see two further five-minute periods of extra-time to decide championship qualifiers, provincial club and league knockout games. If those matches are still level, a free-taking competition will then decide who advances.

Irish Independent

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