By Kieran Shannon
The minor hurling championship could be run along the same lines as the proposed new senior championship format, says Munster Council chairman Jerry O’Sullivan.
A Special Congress is likely to be held later this year at which delegates will vote on whether to restructure the senior hurling championship, and according to O’Sullivan, the proposal recommends that the minor championship is also run off on a round-robin basis within the provinces.
“That is part of the proposals. At this stage they are only proposals, nothing has been finalised or agreed, but minor is also part of the proposal.”
And O’Sullivan himself sees the merit of such a restructure. “There are anomalies in the current minor provincial championship.”
As it currently operates, the Munster minor championship is run off in a rather unwieldy and complicated manner.
This year Limerick lost a first-round game to Tipperary, but after beating Waterford in a playoff, are now just one game away from a provincial final. Meanwhile, the loser of the upcoming Tipperary-Cork semi-final will be out of the championship, even though they each won their opening game. Clare are in a similar situation entering their semi-final with Limerick. If they lose, they’re gone for the year. Even though they won their opening game, there’ll be no backdoor for them, in contrast to Waterford who only exited the championship after their third defeat.
Under the new proposals, from 2018 on all five teams would play each other, with two games at home, two away. The top three teams would progress to the All-Ireland series. The top two would contest a Munster final, with the winner qualifying for an All-Ireland semi-final. The Munster runner-up would still go through to the All-Ireland quarter-final, as would the team that finished third in the group.