Hurling Championship proposals  

GAA President Nickey Brennan has revealed the details of the newly-structured Hurling Championship proposals which are set to be placed before Special Congress on 4 October at Croke Park.

Speaking at the launch of the M Donnelly All-Ireland Handball 60 X 30 Finals which will be held at Headquarters on Saturday next, Brennan pointed out that the HDC plans are coming on well, with Leinster Council officials the last of the provinces to have their say on the proposed changes at a special meeting in Portlaoise on Tuesday night.

The President is hoping to ease the concerns of Leinster officials, over the proposed introduction of both Antrim and Galway to their provincial championship.

He explained: ‘What we want to do in Portlaoise is explain to Leinster how we feel about why we are asking them to facilitate Galway and Antrim.

‘We were up in Ulster last week and Ulster have completely come on board at this stage. If there are any fears on the Leinster side let them mention them tonight and we will hopefully allay those fears.’

A new four-tier structure is being proposed by the Hurling Development Committee (HDC), which will see an additional tier to the current system, with the fourth competition, proposed to be called the Lory Meagher Cup to cater for teams at the bottom end of the hurling structure.

The Liam McCarthy will continue with 12 teams and then under that there will be three tiers of competitions with eight teams each.

Proposed changes to the Leinster Hurling championship for 2009.

The championship will comprise of seven teams – Kilkenny, Wexford, Offaly, Laois, Dublin, Galway & Antrim

The proposal will be that the Leinster champions (Kilkenny) automatically get into the semi-final.

The other six teams will go into the first round proper. There will be a draw made for them in October this year after Congress and there will be three winners.

Those three winners will go into the hat with Kilkenny to pair off the semi-finalists. It is propsed that the draw for the semi-final will not take place until after the first round is completed in May 2009.

Beyond Leinster

The three losers in Leinster will meet up with the loser coming from the first round in Munster. That will be called pool one. They will play off down to two teams.

The other pool will be the two beaten semi-finalists in Munster, and the two beaten semi-finalists in Leinster. They will play down to two teams and then there will be crossover games between both pools.

The quarter-finals will involve the beaten provincial finalists, with the winners of those playing the Leinster and Munster champions respectively in the semi-final.

Ulster Championship

The Ulster Championship will remain in place for the 2009 season. Along with their involvement in Leinster, Antrim are also expected to partake in their own provincial series.

The plans outlined above, if ratified by Congress are expcted to be in place for five years.

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