Extra week can solve round-robin crux
THE CHALLENGE: To prevent counties in the Munster and Leinster hurling round robin from facing four - or even three - games on successive weekends while adhering to a tight schedule.
The BACKGROUND: This year, Tipperary, Waterford, Offaly and Wexford all had games on four successive weekends. Limerick, Cork, Kilkenny and Galway were all out on three successive weekends. Tipperary, Waterford and Offaly won no games, while some of those who played three games on successive weekends were also critical of the demanding schedule. THE SOLUTION: Allocate one extra week. It has been suggested that while that would end the four-game sequence, some counties would still have games on three successive weekends.
Not so, according to a Galway reader, who has devised a schedule that takes only six weekends while ensuring that no county has to play more than two games without a break. Using Leinster as an example, here's how it would work next year.
WEEK 1: Galway v Dublin; Offaly v Kilkenny; Wexford free.
WEEK 2: Kilkenny v Wexford; Dublin v Offaly; Galway free
WEEK 3: Wexford v Galway; Dublin, Kilkenny, Offaly free.
WEEK 4: Offaly v Galway; Kilkenny v Dublin; Wexford free.
WEEK 5: Dublin v Wexford; Galway, Kilkenny; Offaly free.
WEEK 6: Wexford v Offaly Galway v Kilkenny; Dublin free.
Every county still has two home and two away games and, crucially, has games on two successive weekends only.
Leinster ran for five weekends from May 13/14 to June 9 and Munster from May 20 to June 17 this year. If they both ran from May 13/14 to June 17 next year, this improved scheduling would work.