Next year’s Munster senior hurling champions will again have to wait five weeks until their All-Ireland semi-final.
In August, provincial chairman Robert Frost raised concern about the lack of success Munster winners were having in the All-Ireland series. Not since 2005 have the provincial champions gone onto claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup and Tipperary this year became the seventh Munster champions to fall at the All-Ireland semi-final hurdle.
Frost had hoped for room to reduce the break between the Munster final on the second Sunday of July and the winners’ All-Ireland semi-final in mid-August. However, he was informed by Croke Park that it is not possible.
“There is nothing that can be do regarding the schedule because it is too tight,” revealed Frost.
“I asked the CCCC (Central Competitions Control Committee) via our secretary Simon (Moroney) to have a look at it but there is no room for manoeuvre.”
Tipperary were the last Munster champions to contest an All-Ireland final in 2011. It’s 14 years since the province’s victors last overcame a gap of five weeks or more between Munster final and All-Ireland semi-final to go on and win the All-Ireland title when Tipperary bridged a six-week gap between their Munster final win over Limerick before drawing with Wexford and then beating them in a replay prior to defeating Galway in the decider.
Any hopes that quarter-finals for all provincial finalists could be reintroduced for the first time since 2007 were dashed during the summer when Central Council voted to retain the current structure.
The 2016 provincial draws will take place live on RTÉ television next Thursday where Kerry, having qualified as Christy Ring Cup champions, and Offaly, after losing to qualifiers Laois, will be involved in the Leinster qualifying group. There they will be joined by Carlow and Westmeath. Laois will be drawn in the quarter-finals along with Dublin and Wexford. Kilkenny and Galway, as this year’s finalists, receive byes to the semi-finals.
Cork and Kerry will again receive byes to Munster SFC semi-final stages but may be drawn against one another. In Connacht, it’s Mayo’s turn to travel to Ruislip to face London in a quarter-final as it is Roscommon’s to make the trip to New York next May. Ulster will again be an open draw while in Leinster this year’s semi-finalists Dublin, Kildare and Meath, Westmeath will receive byes to the quarter-finals.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved