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Get Rid Of Hurling League And New Hurling Championship Proposal

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We were on the way home from Aviva last night (a bad start to a post) and 2 of us were discussing would the hurling calendar be better off without the league and replace it with a a knock-out provincial championships.

Then have 2 x groups of 6 (or 7 when the time comes that more counties want to compete) with every team playing each other.

Groups would be provincial winners 1 in each, finalist in each (e.g. Munster losers in with Leinster winners, vice versa) and then 2 provincial semi finalists in each, and 2 more which could be increased to 7 teams if enough teams reach the level.

The top team in each group through to All-Ireland semi final, 2nd/3rd play 2nd/3rd in the other group in quarter finals and the bottom 2 teams have a play-off with 2 teams to be relegated and replaced by McDonagh winners.

How calendar would look would be up to the start of April would be Fitzgibbon/Walsh Cup/etc competitions.

Feb/Mar/April : Fitzgibbon / Walsh Cup / etc.
02 April : Provincial Quarter Finals
09 April : Provincial Semi Finals
16 April : Provincial Finals
23 April : Week off
30 April - 14 May : 3 group games
21 May : Week off
28 May - 04 June : Final 2 group games
11 June - 18 June :2 weeks off (when there are 7 teams in time, could be one more game)
25th June : AI Quarter Finals / Relegation Play-offs
02 July : Week off
09 July : AI Semi Finals
16 July : Week off
23 July : AI Final

Advantages :
- More counties included in provincial championships (Kerry in Munster and 8 in Leinster, what difference?)
- An equal risk of relegation for all counties (if Wexford or Dublin say relegated they can play provincial but play Joe McDonagh Cup at same time as Liam McCarthy groups)
- Still incentive to win provincial championship - top seeding in each group - but not the be all and end all
- Likely avoid dead rubber games, if bottom 2 in relegation only 1 team finishes after the group stages
- A defined route to progression for Laois/Antrim/Westmeath/Kerry/etc - their reward isn't just a yo-yo from the Leinster Championship
- Fitzgibbon players have only one master to serve
- Hurling at the time of year when hurling is best played

Disadvantages :
- Reduced importance of provincial championships (but for the wider progression of the game which has to be a goal)
- Potential loss of revenue from league (less is more maybe?) and loss of sponsorship?
- A few less games being played

At the end of it all, the GAA have to consider what is best for the game and how to increase its appeal for middle of the road counties to put more effort in to hurling. It is 42 years since Offaly made the break through and nobody has looked like it since, while the gap has got larger and many counties look at hurling and think why would you?

ExiledInWex (Dublin) - Posts: 1238 - 23/03/2023 12:55:44    2465991

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Replying To ExiledInWex:  "We were on the way home from Aviva last night (a bad start to a post) and 2 of us were discussing would the hurling calendar be better off without the league and replace it with a a knock-out provincial championships.

Then have 2 x groups of 6 (or 7 when the time comes that more counties want to compete) with every team playing each other.

Groups would be provincial winners 1 in each, finalist in each (e.g. Munster losers in with Leinster winners, vice versa) and then 2 provincial semi finalists in each, and 2 more which could be increased to 7 teams if enough teams reach the level.

The top team in each group through to All-Ireland semi final, 2nd/3rd play 2nd/3rd in the other group in quarter finals and the bottom 2 teams have a play-off with 2 teams to be relegated and replaced by McDonagh winners.

How calendar would look would be up to the start of April would be Fitzgibbon/Walsh Cup/etc competitions.

Feb/Mar/April : Fitzgibbon / Walsh Cup / etc.
02 April : Provincial Quarter Finals
09 April : Provincial Semi Finals
16 April : Provincial Finals
23 April : Week off
30 April - 14 May : 3 group games
21 May : Week off
28 May - 04 June : Final 2 group games
11 June - 18 June :2 weeks off (when there are 7 teams in time, could be one more game)
25th June : AI Quarter Finals / Relegation Play-offs
02 July : Week off
09 July : AI Semi Finals
16 July : Week off
23 July : AI Final

Advantages :
- More counties included in provincial championships (Kerry in Munster and 8 in Leinster, what difference?)
- An equal risk of relegation for all counties (if Wexford or Dublin say relegated they can play provincial but play Joe McDonagh Cup at same time as Liam McCarthy groups)
- Still incentive to win provincial championship - top seeding in each group - but not the be all and end all
- Likely avoid dead rubber games, if bottom 2 in relegation only 1 team finishes after the group stages
- A defined route to progression for Laois/Antrim/Westmeath/Kerry/etc - their reward isn't just a yo-yo from the Leinster Championship
- Fitzgibbon players have only one master to serve
- Hurling at the time of year when hurling is best played

Disadvantages :
- Reduced importance of provincial championships (but for the wider progression of the game which has to be a goal)
- Potential loss of revenue from league (less is more maybe?) and loss of sponsorship?
- A few less games being played

At the end of it all, the GAA have to consider what is best for the game and how to increase its appeal for middle of the road counties to put more effort in to hurling. It is 42 years since Offaly made the break through and nobody has looked like it since, while the gap has got larger and many counties look at hurling and think why would you?"
I like your plan. But why do you think it reduces the importance of the provincial championships? They are reverting to knockout as all championships probably should be! Certainly down here anyone I know would be very happy to win one, as would anybody from one of the counties in Leinster. Would Galway and Antrim remain in the Leinster championship? Or would Galway and Kerry move to Munster so we had 2 7 team championships?

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 13038 - 23/03/2023 13:54:57    2466008

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Replying To Viking66:  "I like your plan. But why do you think it reduces the importance of the provincial championships? They are reverting to knockout as all championships probably should be! Certainly down here anyone I know would be very happy to win one, as would anybody from one of the counties in Leinster. Would Galway and Antrim remain in the Leinster championship? Or would Galway and Kerry move to Munster so we had 2 7 team championships?"
It is a very good suggestion. The league can still be retained however, possibly promoting 2 and relegating 2 without any finals, using divisions of 6.
My understanding is that the 2 groups of 6 are All-Ireland groups. Teams would have to be in the All-Ireland groups to be allowed enter the provincial championships. This way the lower tiers can continue during the provincial championships.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8111 - 23/03/2023 14:27:14    2466022

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It's a good and innovative suggestion. Unfortunately though, innovative isn't always seen as good in certain parts of the Association, if you know what I mean.

To answer Viking - I think it would definitely downgrade the importance of the provincial championships. Currently, provincial winners get straight passage to the All-Ireland semi-finals. Under this new system, all they'd get is an assurance that they wouldn't have to play the other provincial champion in the group stage. They'd still have to play five matches in an attempt to get into the knock-out stages at all.

Another consideration, also unfortunately, is financial. Fewer games and less prestige for the provincial championships would mean a significant drop in income for the provincial councils. You can bet they'd fight tooth and nail against it.

Overall though, I like it. Only thing I'd change is remove where the bottom two teams in each group would play off for relegation. My view would be that the bottom team in each group should just go straight down. If you're bottom after five games, you're there for five reasons already, and don't particularly deserve a sixth chance.

Pikeman96 (Wexford) - Posts: 2327 - 23/03/2023 15:07:40    2466037

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Replying To Viking66:  "I like your plan. But why do you think it reduces the importance of the provincial championships? They are reverting to knockout as all championships probably should be! Certainly down here anyone I know would be very happy to win one, as would anybody from one of the counties in Leinster. Would Galway and Antrim remain in the Leinster championship? Or would Galway and Kerry move to Munster so we had 2 7 team championships?"
The only reason is that there is no link between them and the All Ireland series. But there is a carrot for winning them.
I think Galway and Antrim would remain in Leinster. In time, if there was enough good hurling teams in Leinster maybe they could be moved to Munster.

ExiledInWex (Dublin) - Posts: 1238 - 23/03/2023 15:09:21    2466039

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Replying To legendzxix:  "It is a very good suggestion. The league can still be retained however, possibly promoting 2 and relegating 2 without any finals, using divisions of 6.
My understanding is that the 2 groups of 6 are All-Ireland groups. Teams would have to be in the All-Ireland groups to be allowed enter the provincial championships. This way the lower tiers can continue during the provincial championships."
I think retaining the league suffers from "repeat pairings syndrome" and it is better if the championship bursts in to life in April if you ask me.
There isn't too much benefit from matches in Jan/Feb/March for me.

ExiledInWex (Dublin) - Posts: 1238 - 23/03/2023 15:10:53    2466041

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I guess what you are saying is - Prov Championships revert to KO, with more teams (M6+L8) and with one half of the KO draw in one Prov merging with one half from the other (M3+L4 & M3+L4).
Presumably, Prov Finals (opposite halves of the draw) are played outside the groups?
Another idea is:
Keep existing Prov Groups (M5+L6), with Prov Championship round robins retained and then the 'league' phase could be replaced with all 'inter-group' pairings (M5 v L6), to complete a 10-match full round robin.
AIC could have Prov Champs to AI SFs and next best 4 from the 11-team, 10-match table to AI QFs.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2767 - 23/03/2023 15:17:14    2466044

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The league should never be got rid of, it's part of our hurling history, our past, and part of our hurling culture. There is calls to end the Walsh Cup too and munster league, we have lost over the years the Oireachtas and railway cups, this has to stop.
The only reason this being brought up is the fixtures committee fault, we cannot sustain the cramming of fixtures in the gaa calendar year the way they are fixed, ie ending the hurling year in early July which is madness, there is going to be problems down the road with County player welfare with injuries and burnout. The split season is not working for me in all honesty, the club championship is really no better either, playing the final in early February in a cold half empty Croke Park, we lost the St Patrick's day final too which always had a good atmosphere to it.
There is too much change happening in the gaa at the moment and it's not good for sport, player or spectators, we need to hold onto old values to a certain extent not just throw everything away. What will be next to be proposed to get rid of the provincial, amalgamation of counties?

preddan (Kildare) - Posts: 744 - 23/03/2023 15:43:06    2466054

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Replying To preddan:  "The league should never be got rid of, it's part of our hurling history, our past, and part of our hurling culture. There is calls to end the Walsh Cup too and munster league, we have lost over the years the Oireachtas and railway cups, this has to stop.
The only reason this being brought up is the fixtures committee fault, we cannot sustain the cramming of fixtures in the gaa calendar year the way they are fixed, ie ending the hurling year in early July which is madness, there is going to be problems down the road with County player welfare with injuries and burnout. The split season is not working for me in all honesty, the club championship is really no better either, playing the final in early February in a cold half empty Croke Park, we lost the St Patrick's day final too which always had a good atmosphere to it.
There is too much change happening in the gaa at the moment and it's not good for sport, player or spectators, we need to hold onto old values to a certain extent not just throw everything away. What will be next to be proposed to get rid of the provincial, amalgamation of counties?"
I'll just state again my firm belief that anybody who continues to complain about the split season simply has no understanding or no consideration of club championships or club players in a dual county.

Pikeman96 (Wexford) - Posts: 2327 - 23/03/2023 15:50:07    2466059

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Replying To Pikeman96:  "It's a good and innovative suggestion. Unfortunately though, innovative isn't always seen as good in certain parts of the Association, if you know what I mean.

To answer Viking - I think it would definitely downgrade the importance of the provincial championships. Currently, provincial winners get straight passage to the All-Ireland semi-finals. Under this new system, all they'd get is an assurance that they wouldn't have to play the other provincial champion in the group stage. They'd still have to play five matches in an attempt to get into the knock-out stages at all.

Another consideration, also unfortunately, is financial. Fewer games and less prestige for the provincial championships would mean a significant drop in income for the provincial councils. You can bet they'd fight tooth and nail against it.

Overall though, I like it. Only thing I'd change is remove where the bottom two teams in each group would play off for relegation. My view would be that the bottom team in each group should just go straight down. If you're bottom after five games, you're there for five reasons already, and don't particularly deserve a sixth chance."
Agree about the relegation Pikeman.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 13038 - 23/03/2023 15:57:10    2466064

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Replying To ExiledInWex:  "The only reason is that there is no link between them and the All Ireland series. But there is a carrot for winning them.
I think Galway and Antrim would remain in Leinster. In time, if there was enough good hurling teams in Leinster maybe they could be moved to Munster."
You can already have a Ulster champ. Tyrone, Down, Derry, and Donegal are all in 2A/2B.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 739 - 23/03/2023 16:52:59    2466076

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Rationale behind 2 bottom teams was I think you might end up with dead rubber games. If a team is out of the hunt for 3rd, then they might down tools but there is no room for dawdling if you could end up in a relegation playoff.

ExiledInWex (Dublin) - Posts: 1238 - 23/03/2023 17:30:06    2466084

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Replying To preddan:  "The league should never be got rid of, it's part of our hurling history, our past, and part of our hurling culture. There is calls to end the Walsh Cup too and munster league, we have lost over the years the Oireachtas and railway cups, this has to stop.
The only reason this being brought up is the fixtures committee fault, we cannot sustain the cramming of fixtures in the gaa calendar year the way they are fixed, ie ending the hurling year in early July which is madness, there is going to be problems down the road with County player welfare with injuries and burnout. The split season is not working for me in all honesty, the club championship is really no better either, playing the final in early February in a cold half empty Croke Park, we lost the St Patrick's day final too which always had a good atmosphere to it.
There is too much change happening in the gaa at the moment and it's not good for sport, player or spectators, we need to hold onto old values to a certain extent not just throw everything away. What will be next to be proposed to get rid of the provincial, amalgamation of counties?"
get rid of pre season competitions. completely unncessary. let teams just have friendlies before league starts.
ending hurling year at inter county level in July shouldnt be a problem with a properly structured season for club players as intercounty can mix back to their clubs. even get summer break as well.
problem with paddys day final was it over extended the length of the previous seasons competitions unnecessarily.

KillingFields (Limerick) - Posts: 3575 - 23/03/2023 19:06:13    2466104

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This is 4th thread on the go about the National Hurling League, some going for such a maligned competition!!

TerribleFootwork (Wexford) - Posts: 1760 - 23/03/2023 21:02:21    2466118

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Replying To TerribleFootwork:  "This is 4th thread on the go about the National Hurling League, some going for such a maligned competition!!"
It's a good competition. It needs ideas and support.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 13038 - 24/03/2023 09:51:17    2466138

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I propose Div1 6 teams. Div2 6 teams. And 8 teams per division thereafter. 2 up and 2 down between divisions with no finals. Next year div2 would be Wexford, Clare, Dublin, Antrim, Westmeath or Laois, Kildare or Offaly. If Westmeath beat Laois then next year they would play Clare, Wexford, Dublin, Antrim and Kildare or Offaly, so some likely defeats but also some competitive games, with no dead rubbers likely with 2 up and 2 down.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 13038 - 24/03/2023 10:08:02    2466150

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Replying To ExiledInWex:  "Rationale behind 2 bottom teams was I think you might end up with dead rubber games. If a team is out of the hunt for 3rd, then they might down tools but there is no room for dawdling if you could end up in a relegation playoff."
I'd still maintain that the slight possibility of a dead rubber in the final round of group games, between teams who were going to finish 4th and 5th no matter what, is preferable to a situation where a team might finish 5th with four points but still go down if they happened to be caught on the hop by a team who finished bottom with no points (for instance, if the 5th-placed team had picked up a number of injuries in their final group game).

It's actually the same as applies here in Wexford, with our club championships structure of two groups of six, and the bottom two playing off in a relegation final.

There used to be relegation semi-finals that also involved the 5th-placed teams, but clubs voted a few years ago to get rid of them, and there's been absolutely no appetite or calls to reverse that decision.

As I said, if you're bottom after five matches, you're there for five reasons already, and don't particularly deserve a sixth chance.

Pikeman96 (Wexford) - Posts: 2327 - 24/03/2023 10:22:57    2466158

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I just posted in the wrong topic. There are too many format topics floating around!
I agree with the 2 groups of 6 format. It's essentially the current league structure with quarter-finals. 11 teams is fair at the moment. If an expansion to 12 is fair down the line, it should be considered.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8111 - 24/03/2023 10:36:51    2466163

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Look, there is no perfect format.
People who think what is there at the moment is fine must have seen a different league to the one I paid €18 in to see a couple of times.
The goal of this is two-fold:
1. To give the up-and coming counties (Kildare, Westmeath, etc) something better than a Yo-Yo situation where 3 years later players think "why bother, we've hit the glass ceiling"
2. To appease the traditionalists who come hell or high water would defend the provincial championships.
It is easy for the top counties to say hurling is grand don't touch it but that doesn't reflect the reality below the top few counties and will never extend the games reach beyond a handful of counties. This gives everybody a reason to compete, doesn't protect any county from relegation and also is extendable to future proof the game.

If we even got 5-6 more counties (Kildare, Kerry, Offaly, Westmeath, Laois say) up to the a level where they could be competing with the top level, is that not something to try to aspire to?

ExiledInWex (Dublin) - Posts: 1238 - 24/03/2023 12:21:32    2466218

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Replying To Pikeman96:  "I'd still maintain that the slight possibility of a dead rubber in the final round of group games, between teams who were going to finish 4th and 5th no matter what, is preferable to a situation where a team might finish 5th with four points but still go down if they happened to be caught on the hop by a team who finished bottom with no points (for instance, if the 5th-placed team had picked up a number of injuries in their final group game).

It's actually the same as applies here in Wexford, with our club championships structure of two groups of six, and the bottom two playing off in a relegation final.

There used to be relegation semi-finals that also involved the 5th-placed teams, but clubs voted a few years ago to get rid of them, and there's been absolutely no appetite or calls to reverse that decision.

As I said, if you're bottom after five matches, you're there for five reasons already, and don't particularly deserve a sixth chance."
2 up 2 down would solve that problem both nationally and locally.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 13038 - 24/03/2023 12:29:27    2466226

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