Wednesday 18 July 2018

Sequencing crucial in new hurling world

While no draws will be necessary for next year’s Leinster and Munster hurling championships, counties in both provinces will be keeping a close watch on the process used to structure the ‘round robin’ sequence of fixtures and venue arrangements. Photo: Stock picture/Sportsfile
While no draws will be necessary for next year’s Leinster and Munster hurling championships, counties in both provinces will be keeping a close watch on the process used to structure the ‘round robin’ sequence of fixtures and venue arrangements. Photo: Stock picture/Sportsfile

Martin Breheney

While no draws will be necessary for next year's Leinster and Munster hurling championships, counties in both provinces will be keeping a close watch on the process used to structure the 'round robin' sequence of fixtures and venue arrangements.

Both could prove crucial in a format which was voted in for three years at the Special Congress last Saturday.

Every effort will be made to ensure that no county has two 'home' or two 'away' games in succession in the five-county groups in either province.

The two provincial councils must also decide if fixtures/venues are made on a two-year cycle to prevent the 'luck of the draw' benefiting any county.

Read more: Kearns warns of championship 'chaos'

For instance, the Leinster draw could send Wexford all the way to Galway, or vice versa, in successive years unless the draw is made on a two-year cycle, effectively reversing next year's schedule in 2019.

"There are a number of issues we have to look into. It's a new system and we have to make sure that it works as fairly as possible for every county. Obviously, the aim will be to have counties playing 'home' and 'away' on an alternate basis for their four games," said Michael Reynolds, Leinster CEO.

Read more: 'System remains broken for clubs'

"There's also the question of whether to make the fixtures on a two-year basis. It's important to get it all right - counties will be watching closely."

With the top two counties in both provinces qualifying for the final and third-placed advancing to the preliminary All-Ireland quarter-finals, small margins will be crucial, including the order in which the games are played. It's expected that the provincial championships will start on the second Sunday in May next year.

The draw for the 2018 provincial football championships will be made on October 19.

Irish Independent

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