Managers may appeal new league system

A number of top hurling managers are angered by the new league system voted in for the 2014 season.

Central Council this month backed the proposal to retain the six-team divisional structure but with quarter-finals between the top four teams in both Division 1A and 1B.

However, all but Tipperary of the five Liam MacCarthy Cup teams in Munster favoured a return to the eight-team top flight with semi-finals between the top four placed teams.

Dublin also supported the enlarged group and chairman Andy Kettle had earlier this month expressed his concern that people at Central Council were voting on a format that “doesn’t really affect their county teams”.

The aggrieved managers may be prepared to appeal to Croke Park.

“It isn’t the right way to go,” said one. “Most of the top hurling counties wanted an eight-team division again.

“It feels like this new system has been dictated to us. Hurling needs high quality matches and this doesn’t feel like it’s in the best interests of hurling.

“The football league is successful because of the amount of high profile games. There are only five at the moment.

“They’ll say there are quarter-finals as well but an eight-team league would provide seven games against the best opposition and then the possibility of a semi-final and final.”

At the end of 2011, eight counties including Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford objected to the original six-team format for this year’s league and put forward a motion calling for the eight-team structure to be restored.

A compromise motion, which introduced a quarter-final between the six-team Division 1A and 1B, was backed by Central Council.

This latest disappointment among the stronger hurling counties, though, is unlikely to compel Croke Park to seek resolution.

The successful proposal, one of three put forward by the Hurling Development Committee (HDC), had the backing of the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) as well as the fixture planning committee.

Central Council meet next month to discuss two proposals for the 2014 All-Ireland hurling championship.

The HDC have recommended five teams in both Munster and Leinster play two games at home and away with the top two qualifying for each final.

The CCCC want to gradually reduce the teams competing in the Championship from 15 to 13.


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