Leinster leads opposition to hurling's new grand plans
Opposition is mounting against proposals which would see a dramatic overhaul of the All-Ireland hurling championships from next year.
While most counties are not yet stating their positions publicly, concerns are being expressed privately over the plan to run the Leinster and Munster championships off on a 'round robin' basis and to the proposals to limit to ten the number of counties eligible to compete for the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
In particular, there's dismay among some counties in Leinster, who face being excluded from their own championship.
The plan envisages the province becoming a five-team event, including Galway, who are now a permanent fixture in Leinster.
Under the proposals, Laois, Carlow, Westmeath, Meath, Antrim and Kerry would compete in a secondary competition, with the winners promoted to the Leinster championship in the following season, replacing the lowest placed county in the 'round robin' series.
And since Offaly are well behind Galway, Kilkenny, Dublin and Wexford at present, it's highly likely that if the new format were introduced next year, they would be relegated from the Liam MacCarthy Cup tier 20 years after winning their fourth All-Ireland title in 17 years.
There's also disquiet over the failure to make provision for second tier winners entering the All-Ireland championship in a given year. Instead they would have to wait until the following season to join the Leinster championship.
It's understood that there's also opposition in Munster to the 'round robin' proposal. For while it would offer the five competing counties two 'home' games, there are fears that the change would rob the championship of its traditional prestige.