Kerry seek Christy Ring stepping stone
REIGNING Christy Ring Cup champions Kerry have applied to Central Council for a rule change that would allow the competition's winners enter the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers from next season on.
Kerry, who have decided against competing in the Munster SHC proper, believe that it would benefit the Christy Ring Cup winners to go straight into the first round of the qualifiers.
"We have applied to Central Council asking that the winners of the Christy Ring Cup be allowed to enter the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers from next year," Kerry County Board chairman Jerome Conway confirmed.
"That would demand a small bit of change because it's not possible at the moment. We feel that while we are not ready to step up to Munster championship level at this stage, Kerry needs a step up from where we were that season.
"They are changing the league format and they will be a bit more competitive from next season on, but we still feel that we need more of a step up when it comes to the championship. We expect a decision on our request very shortly."
Following Kerry's Christy Ring Cup final victory over Wicklow in June, the option of competing in the Munster SHC and All-Ireland qualifiers was open to Kerry but Conway confirmed that Kerry, who will participate in Division 2 of the National League, will not make a return to the provincial fold next season.
"We are not ready for the Munster senior championship next year but maybe the year after, if we can do well in the Christy Ring Cup again next season," Conway said.
"If our proposal is carried, it would be a great incentive for all teams in the Christy Ring Cup as it will allow a team to go on and play in the qualifiers, which allows a team to test itself against some of the best teams in the country.
"It would have been ideal this year because the first round of the qualifiers were the weekend after the Christy Ring Cup final.
"We have also spoken to the National Hurling Committee about our proposal."