National Forum

Hurling Championship Reforms And Growth Of The Sport

(Oldest Posts First)

What should be done to grow hurling in weaker counties? Slaughtneil have shown that there is love for the sport in the football strongholds. Kids won't pass up the chance to play hurling when they get the chance.

Starting with the Championship. There has been talk about expanding Leinster to 6 teams. I would personally be in favour of scrapping the provincial championships at senior level and adopting a format similar to the one used by Limerick for their senior club championship.

Expand the senior championship to 12 teams. Two pools of 6. The strongest teams go into Pool A. The first and second placed teams in Pool A go into the semi-finals. The third and fourth placed teams go into the quarter-finals with the 1st and 2nd placed teams in Pool B. The 5th and 6th placed teams in Pool A are relegated to Pool B. The 4th and 5th placed teams in Pool B go into a relegation play-off. The loser drops down to the second tier.

For example:

Pool A

Tipperary (Semi-Finals)
Kilkenny (Semi-Finals)
Limerick (Quarter-Finals)
Wexford (Quarter-Finals)
Cork (Relegated to Pool B)
Galway (Relegated to Pool B)

Pool B

Clare (Quarter-Final)
Waterford (Quarter-Final)
Dublin
Laois
Carlow (Relegation Play-Off)
Westmeath (Relegation Play-Off)

The other option is adopt a the League format and have two random groups of 6.

The number of tiers should be reduced to four. The Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cups will both have 8 teams. The remaining 7 teams compete in the Lory Meagher Cup.

Moving on to the clubs. Ultimately, we need more of them playing hurling. West Donegal has no senior hurling club so any kids who enjoy playing at underage have no options when they become adults. Although, Dungloe does have an U21 team so progress has been made. It would be too much to ask for each football club to form their own teams so I think the best option is to form new team which take in players from neighbouring football clubs. For example, a club based in North West Donegal which represents parishes of Cloughaneely and Gweedore.

A provincial league should be formed for weaker counties which have a small number of clubs in the meantime. That or explore the idea of allowing those clubs to join the leagues in a stronger county. This already happens in some areas. Four Roads in Roscommon compete in Division 3 of Galway's league.

Hawkeye9212 (Donegal) - Posts: 265 - 18/01/2020 19:48:19    2260654

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What should be done to grow hurling in weaker counties? Slaughtneil have shown that there is love for the sport in the football strongholds.

Hawkeye9212 (Donegal) - Posts: 236 - 18/01/2020 19:48:19 2260654


Slaughtneil are the exception to the rule in strong football counties; where hurling is discouraged. One swallow does not make a summer.

Cockney_Cat (UK) - Posts: 887 - 18/01/2020 22:01:06    2260676

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I think the current championship is a fantastic mix of groups and knockout with a real sense of danger back in the prov now and a chance for div 2 teams to enter.

No amount of tweaking the format will change anything for weaker counties unless all the or top clubs and players and also county boards switch focus to hurling and that has got to be an internal drive otherwise putting more teams in the AI will just lead to more poundings.

Your idea is essentially the same as the crap league system we just ditched

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 685 - 18/01/2020 23:09:54    2260690

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The present structure isn't bad but I would allow a 6 team leinster for now. No doubt it will all be changed in time. Would an all ulster team encourage growth in the province? I certainly think they would be a very competitive outfit at top level with some resources and the will. The biggest problem in ulster Is the distance from the hurling heartland and we know well that games against top teams and regular interaction with hurling in clubs schools and universities is where the real progress is made. For that reason Leinster is where the most potential exists for the next top team.
It is interesting though that there is atleast some appetite for the game in ulster. But is there any real desire to expand hurling in counties that already struggle to be successful in Gaelic football?

ZUL10 (Clare) - Posts: 584 - 19/01/2020 09:27:20    2260701

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Scrap the provincial championship, league and all preseason competitions. No county panelist allowed play on college teams given the chance to others getting on those teams. I got to play college but today would not get into the pitch. Run the championships on league basis of two groups with quarter final knockouts. 12 tops teams only.
How will that help the weaker counties ? It won't. Hurling is easy to do but hard to do well. The skills are hard to master and the extent of the beatings can be devastating. The improvement has to start at grass roots level first exposing players to a higher standard without getting hammered. Lets be honest (no disrespect) the weaker counties would not beat Conahy Shamrocks or Tullaroan never mind Ballyhale. Incidentally the say is true in football. The weaker counties should play in the club championship. If they want to have their county championship represent let them have a county team also. Expand the top 12 teams when a county shows consistency over a three year period. No relegation only if requested. If you are going to have a Joe McDonagh competition have it at under age. Also a lot of resources and support required. Lip service is all is given now.
This suggestion would put more emphasis on the club players, regulate over playing and should provide more scheduling space with a closed season.

Canuck (Waterford) - Posts: 774 - 19/01/2020 15:49:05    2260777

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Replying To Breezy:  "I think the current championship is a fantastic mix of groups and knockout with a real sense of danger back in the prov now and a chance for div 2 teams to enter.

No amount of tweaking the format will change anything for weaker counties unless all the or top clubs and players and also county boards switch focus to hurling and that has got to be an internal drive otherwise putting more teams in the AI will just lead to more poundings.

Your idea is essentially the same as the crap league system we just ditched"
The format for the League shouldn't have been changed. It was totally unfair on Westmeath. The previous format was fine.

Hawkeye9212 (Donegal) - Posts: 265 - 19/01/2020 16:47:26    2260793

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Replying To Canuck:  "Scrap the provincial championship, league and all preseason competitions. No county panelist allowed play on college teams given the chance to others getting on those teams. I got to play college but today would not get into the pitch. Run the championships on league basis of two groups with quarter final knockouts. 12 tops teams only.
How will that help the weaker counties ? It won't. Hurling is easy to do but hard to do well. The skills are hard to master and the extent of the beatings can be devastating. The improvement has to start at grass roots level first exposing players to a higher standard without getting hammered. Lets be honest (no disrespect) the weaker counties would not beat Conahy Shamrocks or Tullaroan never mind Ballyhale. Incidentally the say is true in football. The weaker counties should play in the club championship. If they want to have their county championship represent let them have a county team also. Expand the top 12 teams when a county shows consistency over a three year period. No relegation only if requested. If you are going to have a Joe McDonagh competition have it at under age. Also a lot of resources and support required. Lip service is all is given now.
This suggestion would put more emphasis on the club players, regulate over playing and should provide more scheduling space with a closed season."
I'd say that there needs to be reforms to club championships as well. Each county decides which championship feeds into the All-Ireland. I looked at the numbers in the top counties' senior championships. I think we need a championship for clubs deemed too weak for senior level but too strong for intermediate. Galway has 24 clubs in its senior championship compared to 12 or 16 in the other counties.

I can't see the League being scrapped and no relegation in the Championship wouldn't be possible. It's hard to assess consistency when teams yo-yo between Senior and Joe McDonagh. I know my proposed format is awkward but that was my way of combining the two competitions. Expanding Senior to 11 or 12 teams allows two or three emerging teams to have a crack at the top teams but also compete against teams at their own level.

Hawkeye9212 (Donegal) - Posts: 265 - 19/01/2020 17:15:58    2260801

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Replying To Hawkeye9212:  "I'd say that there needs to be reforms to club championships as well. Each county decides which championship feeds into the All-Ireland. I looked at the numbers in the top counties' senior championships. I think we need a championship for clubs deemed too weak for senior level but too strong for intermediate. Galway has 24 clubs in its senior championship compared to 12 or 16 in the other counties.

I can't see the League being scrapped and no relegation in the Championship wouldn't be possible. It's hard to assess consistency when teams yo-yo between Senior and Joe McDonagh. I know my proposed format is awkward but that was my way of combining the two competitions. Expanding Senior to 11 or 12 teams allows two or three emerging teams to have a crack at the top teams but also compete against teams at their own level."
The reason I say promotion based on a 3 year performance is to evaluate consistency and hopefully competitiveness with the top 12. The reason I say no relegation or at least not after one year because that is not giving a team sufficient time to adjust and compete. It is also demoralizing.

Canuck (Waterford) - Posts: 774 - 19/01/2020 17:54:42    2260825

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Replying To Canuck:  "The reason I say promotion based on a 3 year performance is to evaluate consistency and hopefully competitiveness with the top 12. The reason I say no relegation or at least not after one year because that is not giving a team sufficient time to adjust and compete. It is also demoralizing."
Good point.

Hawkeye9212 (Donegal) - Posts: 265 - 19/01/2020 18:46:32    2260861

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Latin Amer soccer leagues typically apply a 3-year avg to determine relegation each year.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 1774 - 19/01/2020 19:13:42    2260869

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Replying To Cockney_Cat:  "What should be done to grow hurling in weaker counties? Slaughtneil have shown that there is love for the sport in the football strongholds.

Hawkeye9212 (Donegal) - Posts: 236 - 18/01/2020 19:48:19 2260654


Slaughtneil are the exception to the rule in strong football counties; where hurling is discouraged. One swallow does not make a summer."
They have developed a mini Gaeltacht there as well. They are definitely a big exception to the rule.

PoolSturgeon (Galway) - Posts: 1386 - 22/01/2020 03:34:36    2261481

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the problem with hurling is there is too much tinkering with everything to suit a couple of agendas.
if dublin or wexford or galway or kilkenny were beaten by laois and ended up relegated,the clamour for 6 teams in leinster would be unbearable.
hurling has become the ultimate 'i am alright jack,and once its only carlow relegated,and all the munster counties are ok,thats all good'.
hurling will never expand beyond the top 1/2 of the country if we dont do something to make it worth their while.

there is no easy answer,but for me,relegating a county in leinster and making kerry play the bottom team in munster,is a farce of the highest order.

perfect10 (Wexford) - Posts: 3687 - 22/01/2020 15:35:04    2261583

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Replying To perfect10:  "the problem with hurling is there is too much tinkering with everything to suit a couple of agendas.
if dublin or wexford or galway or kilkenny were beaten by laois and ended up relegated,the clamour for 6 teams in leinster would be unbearable.
hurling has become the ultimate 'i am alright jack,and once its only carlow relegated,and all the munster counties are ok,thats all good'.
hurling will never expand beyond the top 1/2 of the country if we dont do something to make it worth their while.

there is no easy answer,but for me,relegating a county in leinster and making kerry play the bottom team in munster,is a farce of the highest order."
someeone had a good 6+5 system here a while back where 1 provence has 6teams and no matter who wins JoeMcD the 6th is relegated so if kerry win Joe munster have 6 for a year but most years it would be leinster with 1 down and 1 up. Tinkering with systems and rules especially in already struggling comps. like the league is often mentioned to me as a huge turn off for casual and possible new fans and never actually seems to change much anyway.

Also the current hurling structure has had plenty of sucess stories too so its not all as doom and gloom as it would seem here sometimes

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 685 - 22/01/2020 16:34:03    2261605

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Replying To perfect10:  "the problem with hurling is there is too much tinkering with everything to suit a couple of agendas.
if dublin or wexford or galway or kilkenny were beaten by laois and ended up relegated,the clamour for 6 teams in leinster would be unbearable.
hurling has become the ultimate 'i am alright jack,and once its only carlow relegated,and all the munster counties are ok,thats all good'.
hurling will never expand beyond the top 1/2 of the country if we dont do something to make it worth their while.

there is no easy answer,but for me,relegating a county in leinster and making kerry play the bottom team in munster,is a farce of the highest order."
I agree with you and not. If any of these 4 teams were to be relegated then I would probably be the first to shout for change. For me that means we now have 10 top teams not 9. Relegating Dublin or Galway for instance does nothing for hurling. The system isnt perfect or even reasonable at times but its as good as weve had ever. Bring Leinster to 6 teams asap before its too late and we end up looking like an elitist organisation which is not in fact the case. Any worthy hurling fan would want as many teams a practicable at the top level.

ZUL10 (Clare) - Posts: 584 - 22/01/2020 17:58:00    2261625

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Replying To ZUL10:  "I agree with you and not. If any of these 4 teams were to be relegated then I would probably be the first to shout for change. For me that means we now have 10 top teams not 9. Relegating Dublin or Galway for instance does nothing for hurling. The system isnt perfect or even reasonable at times but its as good as weve had ever. Bring Leinster to 6 teams asap before its too late and we end up looking like an elitist organisation which is not in fact the case. Any worthy hurling fan would want as many teams a practicable at the top level."
There has to be a certain level of deserving to be in the top level though. Lots of people want ed to change the rules for Offaly but would it have made them better personally I doubt it

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 685 - 22/01/2020 19:15:40    2261644

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Going right back to the top post - that's a bizarre Pool A/Pool B system. Do they really use that in Limerick?

It's designed so that two 'stronger' teams go out at the end of the pool stage (teams 5 and 6 in Pool A), and two 'weaker' teams go through (teams 1 and 2 in Pool B). Did clubs in Limerick really back that?

Couldn't see the idea succeeding here in Wexford if it was suggested, and we operate two groups of six in our senior championships too.

Pikeman96 (Wexford) - Posts: 242 - 23/01/2020 16:36:37    2261809

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Replying To Pikeman96:  "Going right back to the top post - that's a bizarre Pool A/Pool B system. Do they really use that in Limerick?

It's designed so that two 'stronger' teams go out at the end of the pool stage (teams 5 and 6 in Pool A), and two 'weaker' teams go through (teams 1 and 2 in Pool B). Did clubs in Limerick really back that?

Couldn't see the idea succeeding here in Wexford if it was suggested, and we operate two groups of six in our senior championships too."
Agreed but the GAA consistently do this type of thing. In the league for a number of years you had a chance of winning Div 1 if you came 4th in 1B but 5th and 6th in 1A you were out of the league running. Zero logic in it.

Similarly with Laois last year. They had a chance of getting to a Qfinal (which they did) by winning the Joe Mc Cup with the reality being they had no chance if they were in the higher tier to start with. It defies logic for me. It was great to see but the system is total unfair. Had Galway for example got relegated last year they would be very confident of avoiding a number of big games before a prelim q-final. Its a completely unfair and stupid system.

tiobraid (Tipperary) - Posts: 2840 - 24/01/2020 00:25:56    2261865

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Replying To Pikeman96:  "Going right back to the top post - that's a bizarre Pool A/Pool B system. Do they really use that in Limerick?

It's designed so that two 'stronger' teams go out at the end of the pool stage (teams 5 and 6 in Pool A), and two 'weaker' teams go through (teams 1 and 2 in Pool B). Did clubs in Limerick really back that?

Couldn't see the idea succeeding here in Wexford if it was suggested, and we operate two groups of six in our senior championships too."
Yes. I would prefer to open groups of 6 myself.

Hawkeye9212 (Donegal) - Posts: 265 - 24/01/2020 07:10:29    2261871

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Replying To Pikeman96:  "Going right back to the top post - that's a bizarre Pool A/Pool B system. Do they really use that in Limerick?

It's designed so that two 'stronger' teams go out at the end of the pool stage (teams 5 and 6 in Pool A), and two 'weaker' teams go through (teams 1 and 2 in Pool B). Did clubs in Limerick really back that?

Couldn't see the idea succeeding here in Wexford if it was suggested, and we operate two groups of six in our senior championships too."
I cant stand it either. It works similar to the IC league structure from last year and I cant see what purpose it serves

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 685 - 24/01/2020 12:45:11    2261920

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For what it's worth, we've a somewhat similar structure here in Wexford in that it's also two groups of six, but they're structured a little differently.

The two county finalists of any given year are kept apart the following year, so that one goes into Group A and the other into Group B.

Ditto with the two beaten semi-finalists - one in Group A, and one in Group B.

Open draw then with the other eight teams - four into Group A, and four into Group B. The idea is that both groups are roughly equal on merit (at least on paper, at the beginning of the year).

Top 4 in each group after the round robin stage go through to the quarter finals on a 1 v 4, 2 v 3, etc., basis.

Fifth team in each group is finished. Bottom two teams play off in relegation.

There used to be relegation semi-finals involving the fifth and sixth teams in each group, but that was done away with about three or four years ago.

Overall, I think it works pretty well.

Pikeman96 (Wexford) - Posts: 242 - 24/01/2020 12:59:22    2261923

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