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All Ireland Hurling Ch’ship proposals

Hurling Championships Proposals: 2014 – 2016 and beyond

Introduction: The C.C.C.C have been requested by Ard Chomhairle to identify what they feel is the ideal structure for the Liam Mac Carthy Cup and the subsidiary hurling championships. The proposals in this document outline what we believe is the most appropriate structure for Hurling at the moment, and how this can be achieved by the end of the 2016 Championship by outlining specific structures for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Competitions.  This initial proposal was presented to Coiste Bainistí on November 23rd and requested by that body to be circulated to Ard Chomhairle for consideration at their December meeting.

As part of the process towards completing these proposals, the C.C.C.C liaised with the National Fixtures Planning Committee and the current Hurling Development Workgroup as well as considering the particular views of the Leinster GAA Council with respect to the future of the Leinster Hurling Championship and the Counties currently participating in it.

It is fair to say that while no absolute consensus view emerged among these bodies, there are elements of the final proposals – such as the Hurling Development Workgroup’s views on a Leinster “qualifying” section – which were viewed by all as potentially positive developments.

The C.C.C.C also referenced the work & recommendations of the Hurling Development Committee of 2006 – 2009 in reaching its conclusions. That body consulted extensively at the time with key stakeholders in identifying a structure that they felt ensured competitiveness and brought balance to each of the four championship tiers. Their view at the time was that there were a limited number of Counties capable of competing and developing through the Mac Carthy Cup. Little has changed in the interim to challenge that view.

In essence, the C.C.C.C feel the core principles of the proposals adapted by Congress in 2008 remain relevant today. The main flaw, in hindsight, revolved around the provisions for Relegation, which placed 4 teams annually in a relegation scenario.

An attempt to address this at a later Congress, essentially abolished Relegation from the Liam Mac Carthy Cup altogether and left the option of promotion from the Christy Ring Cup at the discretion of the winners each year. The net effect of this was to increase the number of teams in the Liam Mac Carthy Cup to an unrealistic level (from a competitiveness point of view) while at the same time having a negative effect on the perception and ultimate worth of the Ring Cup.

It is the view of C.C.C.C that in order to protect the integrity and competitiveness of the Liam Mac Carthy Cup (and indeed the Christy Ring Cup), there has to be an upper limit on the number of teams allowed to compete in the top tier.

Notwithstanding this, it is also felt that there must be a route to Liam Mac Carthy from Christy Ring for Counties that aspire to play at that level. Hence these proposals provide for a route to Liam Mac Carthy from Christy Ring (and indeed through the other tiers), based on the principle of “win your way up”.

Proposal Summary: The main points of the proposals for the next 3 years are;

  • A 15 team Liam Mac Carthy Cup in 2014 reducing to 13 by 2016
  • 5 teams in Munster Championship as per current format (Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Clare, Limerick – no change)
  • 5 teams guaranteed a place in Leinster Championship proper each year (Kilkenny, Galway, Dublin, Wexford, Offaly)
  • Additional qualification for Leinster quarter finals from a preliminary section or “qualifying group” for what can be termed “developing counties” (initially Laois, Antrim, Westmeath, Carlow, London)
  • Automatic relegation to Christy Ring Cup in 2014 and 2015 only for bottom placed team in Mac Carthy Cup (reducing numbers in qualifying group from 5 to 3 by 2016)
  • Only teams from qualifying group for developing counties can be relegated – review of these teams to take place every 3 years.
  • An opportunity for promotion to the Mac Carthy from the Ring Cup each year but based on merit & the principle of “win your way up” (i.e. no automatic promotion/ relegation)
  • Similar phased re-aligning of Counties through Ring and Rackard Cups through 2014 and 2015 to final solution of stronger and more meaningful  8-team Ring and Rackard Cups & 4-team Meagher Cup for 2016 Championship (in line with the vision of the 2008 Hurling Development proposals)
  • Opportunity for promotion from Rackard & Meagher Cups also based on merit and the principle of “win your way up”

 

The C.C.C.C are acutely conscious of the fact that the format and structure of the Provincial Championships is the right of the relevant Provincial Councils as enshrined in Rule. Nothing in this document is intended to undermine that; however it would have been impossible to properly evaluate and review the current Championships and provide recommendations for the future without making suggestions & assumptions with regard to how the Provincial Championships might operate in the coming years.

 

Conclusion: We trust that the structures proposed will be considered by all stakeholders in the spirit in which they were intended – that of ensuring more competitive streamlined and balanced championships for all intercounty team.

 

The C.C.C.C is of the firm view that constant change to our hurling championships is not helpful; there needs to be certainty in relation to their future. While the C.C.C.C would recommend a review every three years, we feel this should be with respect to the relevant strengths of the Counties involved at each level, rather than necessarily the structures in place (i.e. assessing if any team has progressed sufficiently to move out of the “qualifying” group and into the Leinster or Munster Championship proper and so on).

 

We are satisfied, that if adapted, the structures below can serve the G.A.A. and Hurling in a positive manner into the foreseeable future.

An Lár Choiste Cheannais na gComórtaisí, Samhain 2012

 

Liam Mac Carthy Cup 2014 – 15 Teams

Munster Championship – as is currently; 5 counties

Cork, Tipperary, Limerick, Waterford, Clare

One quarter final, two semi-finals, Munster Final

 

Leinster Championship – 10 Counties

Laois, Antrim, Carlow, Westmeath, London in a “qualifying” group

  • Played on a round robin basis
  • Each team plays four games
  • Top two teams qualify for Leinster Quarter Finals
  • 4th placed team plays Christy Ring Winners in promotion/relegation play-off
  • Bottom placed team automatically relegated to Christy Ring Cup

 

Leinster Quarter Finals (x3) – 4 from Kilkenny, Galway, Offaly, Wexford, Dublin, + 2 from qualifying group

 

2 x semi-finals (Leinster Champions Bye to semi-final)

 

Leinster Final

 

 

Qualifiers and All Ireland Series

Rd 1: 5 Leinster, 3 Munster Teams (that don’t qualify for Provincial final) – 4 Fixtures

(Seeded draw: Bowl 1 – 3 x Leinster + 1 x Leinster Qualifier (or team beaten by them in Leinster Quarter or Semi Final)               Vs Bowl 2 – 3 x Munster + 1 Leinster Qualifier or team beaten by them in Leinster Quarter or Semi-Final)

Rd 2: 4 winners from Round 1 – 2 fixtures

Quarter Finals: Beaten Prov finalists v Rd 2 Winners (as currently)

Semi-Finals: as currently.

 

All Ireland Final

Promotion/Relegation Play-off – Ring Cup Winners v 4th place Leinster “Group” team

 

 

Ring, Rackard & Meagher Cups 2014

2014 Ring Cup (8 teams)

Mayo, Wicklow, Meath, Kildare, Kerry, Down, Derry, Armagh

Format – as per existing structure except:

  • 2014 Ring Cup Winners play 2nd from bottom Mac Carthy Cup team in promotion/relegation play off
  • The two Round 2B losers play a relegation play-off.
  • Loser of this automatically relegated to Rackard Cup for 2015
  • Winner of this plays Nicky Rackard Cup winner for right to play in Ring Cup the following year

 

2014 Rackard Cup (6 teams)

Roscommon, Sligo, Louth, Monaghan, Donegal, Tyrone

Format – as per existing structure except:

  • 2014 Rackard Cup Winners play 2nd from bottom Ring Cup team in promotion/relegation play off
  • The two quarter final losers play a relegation play off.
  • Loser of this plays Meagher Cup winner for right to play in Rackard Cup in 2015

 

2014 Meagher Cup (4 teams)

Leitrim, Longford, Fermanagh, Warwickshire

Format – as per existing structure except:

  • Winner of Meagher Cup plays lowest ranked Rackard Cup team for place in Rackard Cup 2015

 

 

Liam Mac Carthy Cup 2015 – 14Teams

 

Munster Championship – as currently

 

Leinster Championship – 9 Counties

4 in qualifying group

(4 from Laois, Antrim, Carlow, Westmeath, London or 2014 Ring Winners*)

  • Played on a round robin basis
  • Each team plays 3 games
  • Top two teams qualify for Leinster Quarter Finals
  • 3rd placed team plays Christy Ring Winners in promotion/relegation play-off
  • Bottom placed team automatically relegated

 

Leinster Quarter Finals (x 3) – 4 from Kilkenny, Galway, Offaly, Wexford, Dublin + 2 from qualifying group

 

2 x semi-finals (Leinster Champions Bye to semi-final)

 

Leinster Final

 

Qualifiers and All Ireland Series

Rd 1: 5 Leinster, 3 Munster Teams (that don’t qualify for Provincial final)

4 Fixtures

(Seeded draw as in 2014)

Rd 2: 4 winners from Round 1 – 2 fixtures

Quarter Finals: Beaten Prov finalists v Rd 2 Winners (as currently)

Semi-Finals: as currently.

Promotion/Relegation Play-off – Ring Cup Winners v 3rd placed Leinster “Group” Team

*Note: Should Kerry win the Ring Cup in 2014 qualify for the 2015 Mac Carthy Cup by winning the promotion relegation play-off, they would play in the qualifying group initially and if successful there qualify for an additional Munster Quarter Final rather than a Leinster quarter final.


Ring, Rackard & Meagher Cups 2015

 

2015 Ring Cup (8 teams)

Format – as per existing structure except:

  • 2015 Ring Cup Winners play 2nd from bottom Mac Carthy Cup team in promotion/relegation play off
  • The two Round 2B losers play a relegation play-off.
  • Loser of this automatically relegated to Rackard Cup for 2016
  • Winner of this plays Nicky Rackard Cup winner in promotion/relegation play off for right to play in Ring Cup in 2016

 

 

2015 Rackard Cup (7 teams)

Format:

Prelim Round – Two teams drawn to play against each other. Winner to Rd 1 – Loser to qualifier

Round 1 – Prelim Winner + remaining 5 teams; three fixtures; winners to Semi-Finals, losers to qualifier

Qualifier Rd 1 – Prelim loser + Rd 1 Losers; 4 teams; 2 fixtures; winners to Qual Rd 2; losers to relegation final

Qualifier Rd 2 – 1 game involving 2 x Qual Rd1 winners.

Semi-finals – Round 1 Winners + Qualifier Rd 2 winner

Final

  • 2015 Rackard Cup Winners play 2nd from bottom Ring Cup team in promotion/relegation play off
  • Qualifier Rd Losers play Relegation Final
  • Meagher Cup winner plays lose of Relegation Final for right to play in Rackard Cup in 2016 in Promotion/Relegation play off

Meagher Cup (4 teams)

Format – as per existing Meagher Cup except:

  • 2015 Meagher Cup Winner plays bottom Rackard  Cup team in promotion/relegation play off


Liam Mac Carthy Cup 2016 13 Teams

 

Munster Championship – as currently

 

Leinster Championship – 8 Counties

3 in qualifying group

(3 from Laois, Antrim, Carlow, Westmeath, London, 2014 or 2015 Ring Winners)

  • Played on a round robin basis
  • Each team plays 2 games
  • Top two teams  for Leinster Quarter Finals
  • 3rd placed team plays Christy Ring Winners in promotion/relegation play-off

 

Quarter Finals (x 3) – 4 from Kilkenny, Galway, Offaly, Wexford, Dublin + 2 from qualifying group

 

2 x semi-finals (Leinster Champions bye to Semi-final)

 

Leinster Final

 

Qualifiers and All Ireland Series

Rd 1: 5 Leinster, 3 Munster Teams (that don’t qualify for Provincial final) – 4 Fixtures

(Seeded draw as in 2014 & 2015)

 

Rd 2: 4 winners from Round 1 – 2 fixtures

 

Quarter Finals: Beaten Prov finalists v Rd 2 Winners (as currently)

 

Semi-Finals: as currently.

 

All Ireland Final

Promotion/Relegation Play-off – Ring Cup Winners v 3rd place Leinster “Group” team

*Note: Should Kerry qualify for the 2016 Mac Carthy Cup they would play in the qualifying group initially and if successful there qualify for an additional Munster Quarter Final rather than a Leinster quarter final.


Ring, Rackard & Meagher Cups 2016 & beyond

2016 Ring Cup (8 teams)

Format – as per existing structure except:

  • 2016 Ring Cup Winners play bottom Mac Carthy Cup team in promotion/relegation play off
  • The two Round 2B losers play a relegation play-off.
  • Loser of this plays Nicky Rackard Cup winner for right to play in Ring Cup in 2016

Rackard Cup (8 teams)

Format – as per existing Ring Cup structure except:

  • 2016 Rackard Cup Winners plays bottom Ring  Cup team in promotion/relegation play off
  • The two Round 2B losers play a relegation play-off.
  • Loser of this plays Meagher Cup winner for right to play in Rackard Cup in 2017

Meagher Cup (4 teams)

Format – as per existing Meagher Cup except:

  • 2016 Meagher Cup Winner plays bottom Rackard  Cup team in promotion/relegation play off