Sport Hurling

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Special congress in September to decide new hurling format

Counties have until Friday, July 14, to make submissions. Stock photo: Sportsfile
Counties have until Friday, July 14, to make submissions. Stock photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A Special Congress has been called for September 30 to attempt to pass the proposed changes to the hurling championships into rule.

The changes, which were discussed on Saturday by Central Council, will see round robin competitions in Leinster and Munster and a qualifier round robin featuring developmental teams, if they get the green light.

Counties have until Friday, July 14, to make submissions, which will then be taken on board by the Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) and Central Council again, before being refined for the September Congress. If passed, the new structure will be in place for the 2018 season.

However, changes are expected to be proposed by a number of counties, especially in relation to the qualifier group.

Meath have already submitted their concern over the set-up, which sees them excluded from the five-team developmental group, with Antrim, as Christy Ring Cup runners-up, included.

This would have the support of the Hurling Development Committee (HDC), who made submissions to the CCCC last week. They also believe Laois would be better served remaining in the Leinster Championship proper, something Laois are also known to favour.

Potential changes to the league structure are also in the pipeline for 2019, if a new hurling championship format is agreed.

The CCCC are also in the process of completing a new fixtures calendar that will take into account changes to the football and hurling championships and would set aside more time for club activity.

The broad aim of the CCCC is to create a calendar where there are 25 weeks each for club and county programmes, allowing for revised dates for All-Ireland hurling and football finals in August.

The GAA's standing rules committee will also be submitting at least one motion to that Special Congress, forcing goalkeepers to kick the ball out beyond the 20-metre line.

At present, a ball only needs to travel 13 metres in any direction before it can be gathered and many teams have used this to deploy short kick-outs that see goalkeepers direct the ball behind its starting point on the 13 metre line. Receivers must currently be beyond the 20-metre line and 13 metres from the ball before it is kicked.

The standing rules committee - which brought in the mark, that has worked quite seamlessly - believe that by squeezing the area a kick-out can be played into, it will provide more contests for possession.

The GPA - which last week complained of a lack of consultation - is likely to submit a motion dealing with the number of teams from the qualifier group to be admitted to the All-Ireland series.

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Irish Independent

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