Next year’s Munster minor hurling championship will be played under an amended system to remove the possibility of teams being eliminated after playing, and losing, just one game.
Clare received a bye to the semi-finals in this year’s campaign, but lost to Tipperary and were out, while Limerick made it to the All-Ireland series despite losing twice – to Cork in the provincial quarter-final and then to Tipp in the Munster decider.
Under the new system, each team will have the benefit of a second chance, while repeat meetings – as with Cork and Limerick this year – will be avoided too. With Kerry not taking part, there are five teams in the Munster MHC. For 2016, four teams will be drawn to play in the quarter-finals, with the two winners reaching the semi-finals.
One of the two quarter-final losers will then play the county which was not in the quarter-finals. The winner of that will advance to the last four and the loser will play the other team beaten in the quarter-finals. “Overall, it’s a far more equitable system,” said Cork’s Munster Council delegate Marc Sheehan.
“Clare were unlucky this year and it’s very tough for a team getting the bye into the semi-final to have to face a team which has already played a game.
The new system eliminates that scenario and also the draw will be set up in such a way that repeat pairings will be disallowed.”
While there is the possibility under the new system of a team losing three games and still making the All-Ireland championship, it is likely that the competition at national level will have a qualifier system in any case, featuring Galway, Antrim and beaten Munster and Leinster sides.
The proposal for such a change will be voted on by Central Council next month.
The Munster MFC system will remain unchanged for next year. Draws for Munster intermediate, junior, U21 and minor competitions will take place at the next provincial council meeting on October 22nd.
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