Wednesday 12 December 2018

Hurling league to come under review after fixtures congestion

The Allianz hurling League is likely to come under further review later in the year, (Stock picture)
The Allianz hurling League is likely to come under further review later in the year, (Stock picture)
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The format for the closing stages of the Allianz hurling League is likely to come under further review later in the year, as concerns grow over its efficiency and fairness.

The Central Competitions Control Committee wanted the quarter-finals scrapped this year in order to ease fixture pressures in a tightened schedule but Central Council rejected the call.

Instead, they decided to retain the existing format, which bestows the same qualification rights on 1A and 1B teams. The top four finishers in each group reach the quarter-finals.

A majority of Central Council felt that the knockout system had worked well in recent years.

However, it's understood that many members of the committee are now having second thoughts following the fixture disruption caused by the bad weather on the weekend before last.

It led to the cancellation of all games, forcing a delay in the knockout games, including the final, which has gone back to March 31.

Also, there's an issue of fairness. The fact that the last three outright winners (Waterford, Clare, Galway) emerged from 1B has added to the perception that being in the lower grouping is an advantage as it allows greater scope for managements to experiment than in 1A where the competition is more intense.

Effectively, the only downside to being in 1B is the lower financial take from a group where crowds are smaller than in 1A.

However, that can be made up in the knockout stages if a 1B team reaches the semi-final or final. Whereas Offaly and Dublin are in next Sunday's quarter-finals after winning only two of five games each in 1B, Waterford were eliminated from the competition, despite winning twice in 1A. They play Cork, who won one game, in a relegation play-off next Sunday.

This is the second time in three seasons that Cork have been in a relegation play-off, surviving in 1A two years ago when they beat Galway. They lost a relegation play-off to Clare in 2013. Waterford were last relegated in 2014.


What is Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is an inherited disease where the wall of the heart muscle becomes thickened.

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The condition affects about one in 500 people, although most of those have few, if any, symptoms – which can include shortness of breath and fainting.

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However, cardiovascular disease is the most frequent cause of death in young athletes, and HCM is the single most common condition responsible for these tragedies.

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