Ryan raises concerns over league decision

Cork chairman Bob Ryan has questioned what value next year’s Allianz Hurling League will have for developing counties.

Ryan also queried the amount of time it has taken to decide on a format as Central Council voted on Saturday to retain the six-team Division 1A and 1Bs with the addition of quarter-finals between the top four in each division.

It means Cork and Limerick will be in Division 1B alongside Antrim, Laois, Offaly and Wexford while Division 1A will be made up of Clare, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford.

The new structure will run for three years alongside a slightly-altered championship, which also comes in next season. Both will be subject to a full review in 2016. The format, including the quarter-finals, was originally backed last December but was revisited after the GAA’s Management Committee decided Central Council should be given another opportunity to discuss it.

Cork and Limerick proposed an eight-team top flight, reintroducing them to Division 1, but then gave their support to a Super 12 structure devised by national fixtures planning committee Michael Burns.

Carlow and Westmeath put forward an amended version of the Super 12 to include themselves. However, when put up against the Burns’ proposal, their idea was defeated narrowly by 19 votes to 17.

Delegates were then asked to choose between Burns’ blueprint — splitting Division 1 into two sections of six with two cross-section games for each county — and the format backed 11 months ago.

Relegated last year, Ryan knew Cork faced the possibility of Division 1B in 2014 but was encouraged by the possibility of a different format being introduced. “We’ll play on. Things have been dragged out a lot. We thought there was a lot of merit in other proposals and supported the option provided by Michael Burns but it was defeated.

“I wonder how this system coming in will satisfy the needs of smaller counties? Other proposals appeared to be more beneficial to them. As for ourselves, we’d be happy enough to think we can reach the quarter-finals of the national league next year.”

Limerick chairman Oliver Mann expressed frustration with the outcome, which confirmed their fourth consecutive season in Division 1B. “Very, very disappointed. We were hopeful there would be a change to the league structure. But unfortunately majority rules and we have to live with it.

“There was a lot of discussion on it since last August and it’s a real pity.”

Carlow chairman Michael Meaney spoke of their “devastation” in seeing their joint proposal with Westmeath defeated by a small margin. He revealed they had counted on the backing of 25 counties but eight voted otherwise.

Meanwhile, Special Congress in Croke Park on Saturday passed rule changes to accommodate the mandatory wearing of helmets in hurling and mouthguards in Gaelic football from next year on.


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