Tipperary captain Brendan Maher lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Tipperary captain Brendan Maher lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Proposed restructure of All-Ireland Hurling Championships

By John Harrington

Proposals for the restructuring of the All-Ireland Senior, U-21, and Minor Hurling Championships on a three-year trial basis from 2018 to 2020 inclusive have been revealed.

The proposals will be considered by Central Council at its meeting on Saturday, June 17, after which Central Council will decide if there is a basis for calling a Special Congress later this year.

The proposal document recommends revamping the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship so it consists of two provincial championships and a provincial qualifier group.

The Leinster and Munster Championships would be played off on a round-robin basis, so there would be five rounds of four matches each.

Each team would have two home and two away matches, with the two teams finishing in the top two places in each group qualifying for their respective provincial final.

The winners of the provincial finals would qualify for the All-Ireland semi-finals with the defeated provincial finalists qualifying for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

The third placed team in both championship groups would remain in the championship, with a pathway open to them to qualify for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

On a rolling two-year cycle basis, the third placed team in each province would either progress directly to the All-Ireland quarter-final or else play the winner of the Provincial Qualifier Group in a play-off for a place in the Quarter-Finals.

In 2018 the Provincial Qualifier Group would consist of Laois, Westmeath, Kerry, Antrim, and Carlow.

The CCCC's proposals were formulated to ensure significant club-only periods would be maintained between the end of the Allianz Hurling Leagues and the beginning of the senior championships; and that August (except for the All-Ireland Semi-Finals and Final) and subsequent months would be left free for club competitions.

You can read the CCCC's proposals for reforms of the GAA Hurling Championships 2018-2020 in their entirety HERE.