National Forum

New Proposed Hurling Structure

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The details are still sketchy but you would have to assume that after the round robin is over there will be a final in both Munster and Leinster for the top two who then would go into the All Ireland Semi Finals. Any other way and there just would not be enough time. It will mean more games and appears as if Galway will get home games so good for the punter but perhaps not so good for the club players. Will they put one of the qualifiers into the Munster Championship to even out the numbers?

zinny (Wexford) - 08/05/2017 15:26:07    1985220

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I hope whats being proposed, re increasing amount of games in the provincial championships, doesn't come to be. From what I've heard so far, its a very disappointing proposal, and one that creates more problems than it solves. When I first hear they were going to introduce a 'super-8' for hurling, I was hoping it would be the same format as the football change, being played at the same time. And it would have the absolute top 8 teams playing off against each other at the height of the summer, no more provincial constraints (so we get a way from the same old match ups).

But whats being proposed is just digging a deeper hole. Whats being proposed won't do anything to alleviate hurling being dwarfed by football in July and August, it'll just be a few more games being played in May and June. And the way these round robins are set up, the best position for teams to finish in, will be 3rd place, not the top 2. The 3rd place team goes on to a quarter-final, which is the same reward as the team that loses in the provincial final. It'll be such an effort to get through the provincial games (especially in Munster where all 5 teams can potentially beat each other), getting to a quarter-final without having to play an extra match would be preferential.

And for those who come on and say the Munster championship is sacrosant etc etc, its not 1987 anymore, the days of 65,000 people cramming into Thurles for a Munster final are long gone. That went with the back door. We're lucky if we get 30,000 at a Munster final now, never mind quarter-finals and semi-finals. Crowds for Leinster championship matches are even worse. Is this the part of the championship we want to increase games in, rather than the business end?

This looks like a way to pay lip service to hurling, without interfering with the super 8 stage in Football. After all, the provincial system is much healthier/competitive in football, where there are 4 provinces competing in the main AI series. If this provincial round robin system was the way to go, wouldn't they have done that in Football?

Marlon_JD (Tipperary) - 08/05/2017 16:50:42    1985247

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As I understand it, the thinking is their would be a preliminary round robin in Leinster, with the winning team to join the top 4, presumably Kilkenny, Galway, Dublin & Wexford.
That would reduce contest to 10 clubs, 2 groups of 5 in Munster & Leinster. They would play a round robin series with 2 top teams playing in Provincial Finals. The Munster & Leinster Champions would progress to the semi finals, the beaten Munster Finalist would play the 3rd team In Leinster & beaten Leinster Finalist would play 3rd team in Munster in the quarter finals.

If it goes like that it would be very tough on teams like Offaly, next question what if one of the present "weaker" teams grew stronger than the top 4. What mechanism do they use to decide who takes part in preliminary group.

It's early days yet so we will have to wait & see what the exact proposals are before going to war on it.

corkcelt (Cork) - 08/05/2017 16:58:41    1985251

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Replying To zinny:  "The details are still sketchy but you would have to assume that after the round robin is over there will be a final in both Munster and Leinster for the top two who then would go into the All Ireland Semi Finals. Any other way and there just would not be enough time. It will mean more games and appears as if Galway will get home games so good for the punter but perhaps not so good for the club players. Will they put one of the qualifiers into the Munster Championship to even out the numbers?"
The bit that appeals to me is the home and away games. Kilkenny have played only 3 All-Ireland matches in Nowlan Park in the last twenty years; and I'm sure other counties will have similar figures. I think more home games will improve attendances. Up to now, most games have been played at neutral grounds, which means both sets of fans must travel. There are many fans who might be able to afford the 5 to 20 Euro entry fee to a game, but no way could they afford the cost of travel and other expenses incurred in a day out. Besides, seeing your county at their best, playing in the top competition, at home in a full, or near full ground in summer... bring it on.

Cockney_Cat (UK) - 08/05/2017 17:38:14    1985264

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Replying To Marlon_JD:  "I hope whats being proposed, re increasing amount of games in the provincial championships, doesn't come to be. From what I've heard so far, its a very disappointing proposal, and one that creates more problems than it solves. When I first hear they were going to introduce a 'super-8' for hurling, I was hoping it would be the same format as the football change, being played at the same time. And it would have the absolute top 8 teams playing off against each other at the height of the summer, no more provincial constraints (so we get a way from the same old match ups).

But whats being proposed is just digging a deeper hole. Whats being proposed won't do anything to alleviate hurling being dwarfed by football in July and August, it'll just be a few more games being played in May and June. And the way these round robins are set up, the best position for teams to finish in, will be 3rd place, not the top 2. The 3rd place team goes on to a quarter-final, which is the same reward as the team that loses in the provincial final. It'll be such an effort to get through the provincial games (especially in Munster where all 5 teams can potentially beat each other), getting to a quarter-final without having to play an extra match would be preferential.

And for those who come on and say the Munster championship is sacrosant etc etc, its not 1987 anymore, the days of 65,000 people cramming into Thurles for a Munster final are long gone. That went with the back door. We're lucky if we get 30,000 at a Munster final now, never mind quarter-finals and semi-finals. Crowds for Leinster championship matches are even worse. Is this the part of the championship we want to increase games in, rather than the business end?

This looks like a way to pay lip service to hurling, without interfering with the super 8 stage in Football. After all, the provincial system is much healthier/competitive in football, where there are 4 provinces competing in the main AI series. If this provincial round robin system was the way to go, wouldn't they have done that in Football?"
In Fairness I dont think there is time in July and August to host a super 8's in hurling and if there was Im sure they would clash and somebody would be dissapointed not to see it on tv. I do think its better to have the round robin before the knockout stuff which is not the case in the football. Nothing wrong with hurling in May and June. With all the changes in both codes, Im sure that alot of changes will be made over the coming years but at least its a change and hopefully for for the better.

ZUL10 (Clare) - 08/05/2017 19:03:05    1985283

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In Fairness I dont think there is time in July and August to host a super 8's in hurling and if there was Im sure they would clash and somebody would be dissapointed not to see it on tv.

ZUL10 (Clare) - Posts:407 - 08/05/2017 19:03:05 1985283

Plenty of time to play the games. Shorten the League if needs be. But, June, July and part of August should enough. There should be no problem with TV if the scheduling and timing of games are organised well.

Cockney_Cat (UK) - 08/05/2017 22:16:37    1985330

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am i correct in assuming in this new structure that there are no qualifiers
ie top 2 into porvincial finals with team no 3 going to quarters.

In a 5 team group the team with free weekend on the last weekend going to be at a disadvantage,

janesboro (Limerick) - 09/05/2017 09:04:18    1985366

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Replying To corkcelt:  "As I understand it, the thinking is their would be a preliminary round robin in Leinster, with the winning team to join the top 4, presumably Kilkenny, Galway, Dublin & Wexford.
That would reduce contest to 10 clubs, 2 groups of 5 in Munster & Leinster. They would play a round robin series with 2 top teams playing in Provincial Finals. The Munster & Leinster Champions would progress to the semi finals, the beaten Munster Finalist would play the 3rd team In Leinster & beaten Leinster Finalist would play 3rd team in Munster in the quarter finals.

If it goes like that it would be very tough on teams like Offaly, next question what if one of the present "weaker" teams grew stronger than the top 4. What mechanism do they use to decide who takes part in preliminary group.

It's early days yet so we will have to wait & see what the exact proposals are before going to war on it."
Leinster operate a round robin in hurling at present. Will those teams be excluded from the 5 teams proposed for next year. Not much incentive for Laois, Carlow, Westmeath, Meath/ Kerry to promote hurling in their counties.

The concept is worth considering, just needs to be a bit more inclusive in Leinster.

thelongridge (Offaly) - 09/05/2017 09:26:02    1985373

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longridge i think the proposal is the 5 teams will be galway kilkenny wexford dublin plus leinster round robin winners,

janesboro (Limerick) - 09/05/2017 09:52:05    1985383

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Replying To thelongridge:  "Leinster operate a round robin in hurling at present. Will those teams be excluded from the 5 teams proposed for next year. Not much incentive for Laois, Carlow, Westmeath, Meath/ Kerry to promote hurling in their counties.

The concept is worth considering, just needs to be a bit more inclusive in Leinster."
Ill thought out plan yet again from some HDC group or other with no thought given to how the lesser teams can develop and promote hurling, just pull that drawbridge yet again.

bricktop (Down) - 09/05/2017 10:05:06    1985386

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Replying To janesboro:  "longridge i think the proposal is the 5 teams will be galway kilkenny wexford dublin plus leinster round robin winners,"
Janesboro. Offaly are not in this year's Leinster round robin hurling group. Ourselves and Wexford play the top 2 teams from the round robin, the winners qualify for the semi finals.

Taking just 5 teams from Leinster is a bit dismissive to the sides competing in the present round robin series. Munster have 5 teams in their hurling championship, there are more counties in the Leinster championship, including Kerry for round robin games.

thelongridge (Offaly) - 09/05/2017 12:35:58    1985448

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While I'm all for more hurling throughout the summer, I don't think this proposal will be a major success as it continues to put the cart before the horse.
Rather than shoehorning a new championship setup into an already crowded and chaotic calendar, why not organise the calendar first, and design an appropriate championship to fit the available match days?

So for example, if we take the months from February to July (inclusive), you have 26 weeks, which means 26 match days.
So now, you simply allot the 26 match days to the different codes and competitions.

Example of a mock allotment of match days:

8Matchdays- Club Fixtures
(Guaranteed 4Hurling + 4Football club Championship fixtures in EVERY county)

Of the remaining 18 match days for intercounty, you could split it as;
4 Hurling Only
4 Football Only
10 Shared Weekends (Football + Hurling both played)

So now we arrive at a scenario where you have
14 match days for hurling.
Under the current structures, this would allot;
8 match days to the league
(To include quarterfinals, etc.)
3 matchdays for provincial championship
(Quarterfinals, semis + final)

This leaves 3 extra match days (leaving All-Ireland quarter finals,semi finals and finals in their current August/September slots)


3 extra matches for new championship structure. Plus :
*guaranteed meaningful club matches throughout the year,
*a calendar with set fixtures until the end of July.
*more matches for all players.

The numbers could of course be rejigged, so you could have 12 shared intercounty weekends and 3 each solo, giving an extra game, etc,etc.

A set calendar (for at least 6/7 months of the year) is the key!

extranjero (Wexford) - 09/05/2017 12:50:50    1985455

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Will this proposed change actually fly though?

I haven't calmed down enough yet to post something rational in response to these proposals. Give me a couple more days and I'll post something that makes some sort of sense.

I'm surprised there is more outrage on here over it, especially with Leinster championship round robin teams.

Killarney.87 (Tipperary) - 11/05/2017 03:36:48    1985867

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Replying To extranjero:  "While I'm all for more hurling throughout the summer, I don't think this proposal will be a major success as it continues to put the cart before the horse.
Rather than shoehorning a new championship setup into an already crowded and chaotic calendar, why not organise the calendar first, and design an appropriate championship to fit the available match days?

So for example, if we take the months from February to July (inclusive), you have 26 weeks, which means 26 match days.
So now, you simply allot the 26 match days to the different codes and competitions.

Example of a mock allotment of match days:

8Matchdays- Club Fixtures
(Guaranteed 4Hurling + 4Football club Championship fixtures in EVERY county)

Of the remaining 18 match days for intercounty, you could split it as;
4 Hurling Only
4 Football Only
10 Shared Weekends (Football + Hurling both played)

So now we arrive at a scenario where you have
14 match days for hurling.
Under the current structures, this would allot;
8 match days to the league
(To include quarterfinals, etc.)
3 matchdays for provincial championship
(Quarterfinals, semis + final)

This leaves 3 extra match days (leaving All-Ireland quarter finals,semi finals and finals in their current August/September slots)


3 extra matches for new championship structure. Plus :
*guaranteed meaningful club matches throughout the year,
*a calendar with set fixtures until the end of July.
*more matches for all players.

The numbers could of course be rejigged, so you could have 12 shared intercounty weekends and 3 each solo, giving an extra game, etc,etc.

A set calendar (for at least 6/7 months of the year) is the key!"
Your bang on.. We need a set calendar.. Problem is when minor and U 21/Fitzgibbon are thrown in

Groundball (Wexford) - 11/05/2017 13:44:45    1985959

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Replying To Groundball:  "
Replying To extranjero:  "While I'm all for more hurling throughout the summer, I don't think this proposal will be a major success as it continues to put the cart before the horse.
Rather than shoehorning a new championship setup into an already crowded and chaotic calendar, why not organise the calendar first, and design an appropriate championship to fit the available match days?

So for example, if we take the months from February to July (inclusive), you have 26 weeks, which means 26 match days.
So now, you simply allot the 26 match days to the different codes and competitions.

Example of a mock allotment of match days:

8Matchdays- Club Fixtures
(Guaranteed 4Hurling + 4Football club Championship fixtures in EVERY county)

Of the remaining 18 match days for intercounty, you could split it as;
4 Hurling Only
4 Football Only
10 Shared Weekends (Football + Hurling both played)

So now we arrive at a scenario where you have
14 match days for hurling.
Under the current structures, this would allot;
8 match days to the league
(To include quarterfinals, etc.)
3 matchdays for provincial championship
(Quarterfinals, semis + final)

This leaves 3 extra match days (leaving All-Ireland quarter finals,semi finals and finals in their current August/September slots)


3 extra matches for new championship structure. Plus :
*guaranteed meaningful club matches throughout the year,
*a calendar with set fixtures until the end of July.
*more matches for all players.

The numbers could of course be rejigged, so you could have 12 shared intercounty weekends and 3 each solo, giving an extra game, etc,etc.

A set calendar (for at least 6/7 months of the year) is the key!"
Your bang on.. We need a set calendar.. Problem is when minor and U 21/Fitzgibbon are thrown in"
Jan/February should be left untouched.

Under 21 and minor grades should've been merged to under 19 grade.

March to August bank holiday is a tonne of time for intercounty.

August to the end of the year to complete club championship.

Club players get league games during the intercounty season.

Bang a lot of the major problems are sorted.

Also the National league should be used alongside Provincial champions to determine All Ireland semi-finalists in hurling and quarterfinalists in football. Get rid of the qualifiers.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - 11/05/2017 14:21:29    1985964

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This is a potentially interesting structure although the full details haven't been published yet. In its simplest form it looks like a group of five in both Leinster and Munster with the top three in each qualifying for the knockout phase. The top two in each would play off in the respective provincial finals with the two winners going directly to the All Ireland semi-finals.

But it will demand a significant mind shift in what's acceptable in terms of the win-loss record for an All Ireland champion. Before 1997 the Champion had to have won all matches. Since then it has become possible to win after losing one match and that has become acceptable (in theory a team from the current Leinster qualifier group could win the All Ireland having lost three matches but that's not likely to happen).

However, in this new structure the following is possible: In a group of five teams there are ten matches and so twenty league points to be won. If the top team wins all their matches then they get 8 leaving 12 between the other four teams. They could split them evenly meaning 3 each so the table for the Munster championship could, for example, finish as:

Tipperary 8 points
Clare 3
Waterford 3
Cork 3
Limerick 3

The four teams on 3 points would be separated by scoring difference. Clare could get those 3 points by having lost to Tipperary and Waterford, beaten Cork and drawn with Limerick. Say Clare now lost to Tipperary in the Munster final and then won their All Ireland quarter-final, semi-final and final their record would be: Won 4 Lost 3 Drawn 1.
Say they had beaten Tipperary in the All Ireland final (that would be a possible pairing as they'd be on opposite sides of the draw). That would have been their third meeting (with Tipp having won two) and Tipp's overall record would be: Won 6 Lost 1.

Would doubt be cast over the legitimacy of Clare's All Ireland? Almost certainly so meaning a new mindset is going to be needed and acceptance of possibilities such as this.

CeachtPeile (Cavan) - 13/05/2017 14:42:20    1986432

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Replying To CeachtPeile:  "This is a potentially interesting structure although the full details haven't been published yet. In its simplest form it looks like a group of five in both Leinster and Munster with the top three in each qualifying for the knockout phase. The top two in each would play off in the respective provincial finals with the two winners going directly to the All Ireland semi-finals.

But it will demand a significant mind shift in what's acceptable in terms of the win-loss record for an All Ireland champion. Before 1997 the Champion had to have won all matches. Since then it has become possible to win after losing one match and that has become acceptable (in theory a team from the current Leinster qualifier group could win the All Ireland having lost three matches but that's not likely to happen).

However, in this new structure the following is possible: In a group of five teams there are ten matches and so twenty league points to be won. If the top team wins all their matches then they get 8 leaving 12 between the other four teams. They could split them evenly meaning 3 each so the table for the Munster championship could, for example, finish as:

Tipperary 8 points
Clare 3
Waterford 3
Cork 3
Limerick 3

The four teams on 3 points would be separated by scoring difference. Clare could get those 3 points by having lost to Tipperary and Waterford, beaten Cork and drawn with Limerick. Say Clare now lost to Tipperary in the Munster final and then won their All Ireland quarter-final, semi-final and final their record would be: Won 4 Lost 3 Drawn 1.
Say they had beaten Tipperary in the All Ireland final (that would be a possible pairing as they'd be on opposite sides of the draw). That would have been their third meeting (with Tipp having won two) and Tipp's overall record would be: Won 6 Lost 1.

Would doubt be cast over the legitimacy of Clare's All Ireland? Almost certainly so meaning a new mindset is going to be needed and acceptance of possibilities such as this."
Sure its not perfect. If Laois or Offaly won the AI like this then nobody would care. If Tipp or KK do it Im sure there will be uproar. The whole thing becomes very subjective depending on who wins and how they won. This is no longer a knockout championship. Its almost the same as the league with 2 division and top teams going through to knockout and possibly a relegation fight in Leinster only.

ZUL10 (Clare) - 13/05/2017 15:40:53    1986441

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I don't like this one bit and I'm surprised there isn't more uproar on here. It's a knee jerk reaction to the Super 8s and being done outside of convention time.

A super 6s of something like that with the top 2 going to the all Ireland final would have worked better because it would have been in July and August.

The super 8s is undermining hurling and this is a condescending format that is only paying lip service to hurling.

The Munster championship is an amazing competition the same way the Ulster football championship is. I don't see HQ tampering with the Ulster Football championship so why should we stand to this.

Posters on here are saying that attendances are down at Munster championship games and you can't argue with that they are down. It's mainly because Tipp are dominating the championship at the minute and we don't have a Waterford/Cork or Tipp/Clare style rivalry at the minute. But that will change again. I can easily see a Clare/Waterford rivalry develop over the next couple of years as Tipp's older players start to retire.

The super 8s and whatever this is are money first short term policies.

Killarney.87 (Tipperary) - 13/05/2017 16:06:29    1986442

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Replying To Killarney.87:  "I don't like this one bit and I'm surprised there isn't more uproar on here. It's a knee jerk reaction to the Super 8s and being done outside of convention time.

A super 6s of something like that with the top 2 going to the all Ireland final would have worked better because it would have been in July and August.

The super 8s is undermining hurling and this is a condescending format that is only paying lip service to hurling.

The Munster championship is an amazing competition the same way the Ulster football championship is. I don't see HQ tampering with the Ulster Football championship so why should we stand to this.

Posters on here are saying that attendances are down at Munster championship games and you can't argue with that they are down. It's mainly because Tipp are dominating the championship at the minute and we don't have a Waterford/Cork or Tipp/Clare style rivalry at the minute. But that will change again. I can easily see a Clare/Waterford rivalry develop over the next couple of years as Tipp's older players start to retire.

The super 8s and whatever this is are money first short term policies."
I agree with you that this format proposal is an afterthought, and doesn't do anything to address the concerns of hurling being overshadowed by football at the business end of the championships.

Its also worth mentioning that this format proposal is not new. It was proposed as an option by the hurling development committee years ago, but was not pursued (although that's essentially where the Leinster qualifier round robin idea came from). For me, that suggests that hurling wasn't even thought of until after the super 8 proposals were pushed through.

I'm not trying to shoot down this proposal for the sake of it, but the lack of thought put into it, and the way its going to be pushed thought for next year, will cause problems. And it speaks to an ongoing pattern of mismanagement of hurling at inter-county level, at least.

An example of what will be a common thread of mismanagement is the proposal to allow the Christy Ring winners into the AI qualifiers in the same year. That was voted on last year, and was supposed to happen this year, 'Christy Ring Winner' v 'Leinster Quarter-Final Loser' is still on most fixture lists for June 24 2017. BUT, it now appears that this is not going to happen this year, but will be implemented next year instead. BUT, under this new proposal, there won't be any AI qualifiers, so what happens to this proposal?

Marlon_JD (Tipperary) - 13/05/2017 18:45:24    1986466

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Replying To Marlon_JD:  "I agree with you that this format proposal is an afterthought, and doesn't do anything to address the concerns of hurling being overshadowed by football at the business end of the championships.

Its also worth mentioning that this format proposal is not new. It was proposed as an option by the hurling development committee years ago, but was not pursued (although that's essentially where the Leinster qualifier round robin idea came from). For me, that suggests that hurling wasn't even thought of until after the super 8 proposals were pushed through.

I'm not trying to shoot down this proposal for the sake of it, but the lack of thought put into it, and the way its going to be pushed thought for next year, will cause problems. And it speaks to an ongoing pattern of mismanagement of hurling at inter-county level, at least.

An example of what will be a common thread of mismanagement is the proposal to allow the Christy Ring winners into the AI qualifiers in the same year. That was voted on last year, and was supposed to happen this year, 'Christy Ring Winner' v 'Leinster Quarter-Final Loser' is still on most fixture lists for June 24 2017. BUT, it now appears that this is not going to happen this year, but will be implemented next year instead. BUT, under this new proposal, there won't be any AI qualifiers, so what happens to this proposal?"
It's farcical stuff. The hurling representatives on these things need to grow a pair and fight the good fight.

Killarney.87 (Tipperary) - 14/05/2017 00:34:25    1986504

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