Friday 23 February 2018

Kilkenny want hurling format change shelved for 12 months

Kilkenny favour retaining the current system for another season to see how the ‘Super 8’ works in football. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Kilkenny favour retaining the current system for another season to see how the ‘Super 8’ works in football. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Kilkenny are calling for a decision on whether to change the format of the All-Ireland hurling championships to be deferred for a year.

A Special Congress on September 30 will consider a number of proposals, including one from Central Council which would cut the number of counties competing for the Liam MacCarthy Cup to ten (five each in the Leinster and Munster Championships) from next year.

Kilkenny favour retaining the current system for another season to see how the 'Super 8' works in football.

"We had a brilliant hurling championship this year, big crowds, tight games and great atmospheres, so it's not as if there's an urgent need for change.

"We would favour waiting a year to see how the new football system works out. Then we can make a decision," said Kilkenny chairman Ned Quinn.

The last eight in next year's football championship will divide into two groups of four, playing off in a round-robin format to provide the semi-finalists.

Central Council's hurling proposal envisages the five-team Leinster and Munster Championships being played in round-robin format with the top two qualifying for the finals.

The winners would go in to the All-Ireland semi-finals, with the runners-up playing third-placed teams in the quarter-finals.

"There's no need to rush into changing hurling just because it's happening in football.

"If we said in Kilkenny that we had a great championship in a year we won it, people might think we were praising ourselves. We're saying it now in a year when we didn't win," said Quinn.

Consecutive

As Kilkenny prepared their proposal, they also moved to ratify Brian Cody as their senior hurling manager for a 20th consecutive season on Tuesday night.

The Cats failed to survive in the championship in August for only the second time during Cody's reign after they were put out of the All-Ireland race by finalists Waterford.

The unfamiliar short summer prompted speculation that the Kilkenny supremo might reshuffle his back room team.

However the management team of Derek Lyng, James McGarry and Michael Dempsey were returned en-masse as they look to return the Cats to the top table.

Kilkenny have never been far away from success under Cody's reign.

The 2016 and 2017 campaigns was only the second time during Cody's glittering tenure that they went two seasons without landing the Liam MacCarthy cup.

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Irish Independent

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