Cork propose ‘Super 8’ format for hurling championship

Cork GAA have proposed a motion contrary to Central Council’s proposal for reform of the hurling championship, writes Stephen Barry.

GAA headquarters favours a system where the provincial championships are played on a round-robin basis, with a final to decide who progresses to the semi-finals. The runners-up and third-placed teams in Leinster and Munster then progress to the quarter-finals.

That motion would eliminate the qualifiers and cap the championship at ten teams, with promotion/ relegation to a six-team tier-two championship. That would again be run on a round-robin basis with a final, and the same for the Christy Ring, Nickey Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups.

Cork, however, wish to protect the current provincial championship structure and replicate the ‘Super 8’ format, which will be introduced to football next year.

That would see the quarter-finals expanded to eight teams and played on a round-robin basis. Christy Ring Cup winners would play in a preliminary quarter-final for entry to the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Cork have also tabled an amendment to Central Council’s motion which would prohibit potential relegation for Munster counties, should Kerry win the tier-two championship, and see them play in the Leinster round-robin.

Tipperary have tabled a similar proposal to Central Council’s model, but with provincial championships run on a knock-out/ losers-group basis.

Dublin wish to retain the provinces as is, and increase the quarter-finals from two to four.

Laois, Offaly and Meath propose that preliminary quarter-finals be held for the Christy Ring Cup winners, while Wicklow propose no change be made to the Christy Ring, Nickey Rackard or Lory Meagher Cups.

The motions will be discussed at the upcoming Special Congress, to take place in Croke Park on Saturday, September 30.

Central Council also propose that Galway and Ulster teams compete in the Leinster U21 championship, with the Leinster and Munster winners playing an All-Ireland final.

Offaly, however, propose that Galway should enter Munster, with Leinster taking the Ulster teams.

A Cork amendment says U21 semi-finals should be staged including the losing provincial finalists.

At minor level, Central Council propose that Ulster teams play in Leinster, with a subsequent round-robin quarter-final involving Galway and the provincial runners-up.

One playing-rule change is proposed for football: that kick-outs which fail to travel outside the 20-metre line be outlawed, with a technical foul/ penalty the punishment.

In terms of club championships, a number of tweaks are proposed by Central Council to free up extra space for club games.

Those motions are:

Motion 13 – CCCC/Ard Chomhairle

That Rule 6.40(a) Tournament Games be amended to permit Inter-County Tournament games to be organised up to the Under 16 Grade only.

Motion 14 – CCCC/Ard Chomhairle

That Rule 6.41(b) – Challenge Games be amended to provide that after the conclusion of the National Hurling and Football League, an Inter-County Challenge Game in that code may only be played on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (except within the period specified in Rule 6.22(a) in accordance with which Inter-County players are not expected to fulfil Inter-Club Championship Games).

A Penalty for breach is provided.

Motion 15 – CCCC/Ard Chomhairle

That Rule 6.22 (a) Inter-County Players Availability to Clubs be amended by reducing by three days the periods during which Inter-County players shall not be expected to fulfil Inter-Club Championship fixtures prior to Inter-County Championship games in the same Code i.e. All-Ireland Finals reduced from a maximum of 20 days to 17 days and all Other Games from a maximum of 13 days to 10 days.

A Penalty for breach is provided.

Motion 16 – CCCC/Ard Chomhairle

That Rule 3.6(a) of the Rules of Specification be amended to provide that if a game in the All-Ireland Football Qualifiers , Knock-Out games in the National Leagues and Provincial Club Championships end in a draw after extra time, that two additional periods of extra time of five minutes each shall be played and if still level after the additional extra time the result will be determined by a free-taking competition, the Regulations for which will be determined by the Central Council.

Motion 17 – CCCC/Ard Chomhairle

That Rule 3.6(b) Rules of Specification be amended to provide that if a Replay of a Provincial Senior Championship Final ends in a draw after extra-time, two additional periods of extra time of five minutes each shall be played.

Motion 18 – CCCC/Ard Chomhairle

That Rule 6.40(k) be amended to provide that adult pre-season Inter-County Competitions organised by Provincial Councils shall be completed before the final round of games in Division 1 of the respective National Leagues.

Motion 19 – CCCC/Ard Chomhairle

That a new section of Rule 6.25 be adopted to provide that the Senior, Intermediate and Junior Champion of Britain shall participate within the Provincial Club Championship Structure of Ireland, on the basis of arrangements determined by the Central Council.