GAA Central Council has not proceeded with the plan to drop five counties from the Allianz Hurling League on the grounds that they do not have sufficient clubs.
At a meeting on Saturday in Croke Park it was agreed to remit the matter of hurling in the counties concerned, Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim Longford and Louth to a new Hurling Development Committee, which had already been established and met for the first time this weekend.
The original proposal from the Central Competitions Control Committee was presented by Feargal McGill, GAA Head of Games Administration and the CCCC’s permanent officer.
In the discussions that followed there were a number of contributions, some of which were supportive of the thinking behind the much criticised proposal, which had been ultimately rejected by the affected counties.
One delegate summarised: “It is more than conceivable that we will spend €10 million on those five counties in the next 10 years and not have an extra hurler or club to show for it.”
Less traditionally strong counties are believed to have good representation on the new committee, which will consider the future of the game nationally and not just in the developing counties.
Also in hurling, delegates approved the introduction of a new league structure from 2025. It will consist of five hierarchical divisions of seven teams, although the top two divisions will continue to be designated as 1A and 1B, as they were in the past four years when the groups were made up of the top 12 teams divided into two sixes.
In the coming league, counties will be playing for their status in the 2025 competition. The new Division 1A will comprise the top three in both of the current top-flight groups with the seventh place allocated to the county with the best fourth-placed finish.
This will be determined by a) match points and if they are equal b) scoring difference. There won’t be a play-off so that an additional fixture won’t be required in an already busy calendar.
Promotion and relegation will be on the basis of two up and two down so there will be greater churn than under the previous structure.
League fixtures for the coming season were approved and the 2024 competition will be launched by the GAA next week.
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