Revealed: New tier proposed for hurling championship which would reduce Liam MacCarthy Cup to 10 teams
A proposal from the GAA's Central Competitions Controls Committee (CCCC) to create a fifth hurling championship tier and reduce the Liam MacCarthy Cup to just 10 counties has been circulated for consideration.
Following the original hurling championship reform proposals released in June, which linked a five-county provincial qualifier to the MacCarthy Cup with a qualifier place for the winners in that same year, a new draft proposes dispensing with that link.
Instead, six counties - Antrim, Carlow, Kerry, Laois, Westmeath and Meath - would play for a new cup at a level between the existing MacCarthy and Christy Ring Cup, with the winners replacing the bottom team in the Leinster championship round-robin the following year.
If Kerry win the tier-two competition, they will play off against the bottom-placed Munster championship round-robin county to determine who plays in the following year's Munster championship.
Under the original proposal, Carlow and Antrim, who contested this year's Christy Ring Cup final, were brought into the 'provincial qualifier' with Meath, the bottom side in this year's Leinster round-robin, relegated to Ring Cup status.
But Meath objected and have now been included in a six-team second tier.
For the 2019 championship, the CCCC envisage dropping to five again with the bottom-placed team relegated to the Christy Ring Cup and the second-bottom team playing off against the Christy Ring Cup winners.
Counties will be invited to submit their own motions for the Special Congress which will be held to discuss reform of the hurling championship at the end of September.
A motion seeking Galway's inclusion in the Leinster U-21 championship looks set to press ahead with a new qualifier group planned for the All-Ireland minor championship involving the beaten Munster and Leinster finalists, in addition to Galway.