Tuesday 20 August 2019

Leinster boss refuses to rule out hurling expansion

Leinster CEO Michael Reynolds. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster CEO Michael Reynolds. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Leinster CEO Michael Reynolds has refused to ruled out the possibility of expanding the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship from five teams to six.

His remarks come on foot of criticism from counties involved in the second-tier Joe McDonagh Cup. They believe that, under the status quo, hurling in the province is unlikely to see widespread improvement.

Reynolds believes next year's revamped hurling League will provide a good indication of whether there's a case for more counties competing in the Leinster SHC.

"We'll have to wait and see what the changed League groups show up next year," he said. "They are much different to previous years, with counties crossing over between the two groups in Division 1."

For several years, Division 1A and 1B were merit-based, with promotion between the six-team groups. From 2020 on, the two groups will include lower-ranked counties.

Managers Colm Bonnar (Carlow), Eddie Brennan (Laois) and Joe Quaid (Westmeath) have all proposed a six-county Leinster championship, in order to give emerging counties more exposure at a higher level.

Carlow were promoted to the Leinster championship this year, but will drop back down next year after finishing bottom of the round-robin table. Laois, who won the Joe McDonagh Cup, will replace them.

Reynolds added: "From an organisational viewpoint, there's no problem increasing the number of counties in the Leinster championship from five to six. A round-robin with six teams can be run off over the same number of weekends as one with five.

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