He also believes the format would offer a fairer alternative to the All-Ireland qualifier structure for beaten sides in both provinces.
Following last weekend’s majority decision at Congress to change the football championship on a three-year trial basis, former GAA president Nicky Brennan has lent his support to a round-robin series for hurling. McGrath predicts modifications to the format in the near future.
“I think that the GAA won’t lose the opportunity to change the structures of the hurling championship over the next year or two,” he told WLR FM’s Gaelic Ground. “It’s been mooted and it’s coming down the tracks. Anything that would afford more games to players in that June and July period (is welcome).”
He views the two groups of four model as more enticing for both players and supporters, providing a regular stream of games between the top counties.
It would also boost the backdoor system, in his opinion. “If you take a hypothetical situation this year where we play the winners of Tipperary and Cork and say we play Tipperary and we lose that game and we’re drawn away to Galway in Salthill. Our championship then is a difficult championship to be involved in.
“The idea of having a group of four, like the football championship, whereby you have a possible home and away arrangement with Tipp or Kilkenny or whoever the losers are from the Leinster side, would be appealing to everyone involved. I do see changes coming down the track because people in the hurling fraternity are too smart and too clever to allow themselves to be overshadowed by the football.
“That’s with no disrespect to the football championship. I think it’s a better championship where you have those three games; one game at home, one away, one in Croke Park and it gives the fans and everyone an opportunity to experience those three games during the summer in the event of a loss.”
McGrath concedes there could be a downside for clubs with the enlargement of the inter-county programme. He has already spoken out about a shake-up to the Allianz Hurling League structure.
“I’m a very strong advocate of an eight-team league or a nine-team league or two sixes, similar to the Waterford hurling championship where you have the top four from each group reaching the quarter-finals. I’d love those quarter-finals to be in Croke Park on an April weekend so that everyone has an opportunity to go to Croke Park.”