Hurling format proposals revealed
GAA:The GAA hopes the hurling competition proposals released today for discussion will be adopted for a reasonable length of time. The proposed structures for league and championship have been brought forward by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) and will be debated by Central Council on Saturday fortnight.
Both sets of proposals prioritise providing a pathway for counties to progress to higher levels of competition, but only if they manage to win their way up the ranks.
Interestingly, the CCCC appear to have focused most attention on how to deal with the situation facing the twilight zone counties – caught between the MacCarthy and Ring Cups, not good enough for the former and too good for the latter.
Should they be accepted, the championship proposals will go forward to annual congress as motions and if passed, will be implemented for the 2014 season. One of the three suggested league options needs only to be accepted by Central Council to come into force, also in 2014.The CCCC was addressing a number of issues in respect of the championship. One was the burgeoning size of the MacCarthy Cup, which has grown in recent years (“to an unrealistic level from a competitiveness point of view,” according to the proposals), with no relegation from the top tier.
The blueprint would see the current 15-team field reduced incrementally to 13 by 2016 through the introduction in 2014 of a ‘qualifying group’ for Antrim, Laois, Carlow, Westmeath and London. Having played on a round-robin basis the top two counties in the group would progress to the Leinster championship, the bottom side would be relegated and the second-last would have to play the Ring Cup winners for MacCarthy Cup status in 2015.Three options concerning the National League will go to Central Council. Two are based on the current six-team format in Divisions One A and One B, which would be as the status quo – ordered on a hierarchical basis. The other would restore the previous eight-team format, which will appeal to some of the counties in Division One B and also to those in One A who are concerned about the shorter schedules of matches.
The difference between the two six-team proposals is that in one case the format used this year by which the winners of Division One B were both promoted and admitted to the Division One semi-finals is again offered.
The other sees a more complicated format with the top four teams in either division being drawn against each other in quarter-finals on a seeded basis.
CCCC HURLING PROPOSALS - Main Points
MacCarthy Cup to be reduced to 13 counties by 2016.
Promotion from Christy Ring Cup to be dependent on a play-off between winners and a MacCarthy Cup county.
Qualifier group to be played on a round-robin basis between five lowest-ranked MacCarthy Cup counties (Antrim, Laois, Carlow, Westmeath and London) with top two progressing to senior championship.
Similar structures to govern movement between the other championship tiers – Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups.
2014 National League
Three options to go before Central Council.
Two involve six-team formats in Divisions One A and One B with either quarter-finals or semi-finals to follow the regulation season.