Over half of lower tier hurling counties oppose championship structure changes

70% of Liam MacCarthy squads support the proposals based on feedback gathered by the GPA

BY Sinéad Farrell 17:29 Saturday 17 June 2017, 17:29 17 Jun 2017

©INPHO/James Crombie

Over half of teams in the lower tier hurling competitions are opposed to changes to the All-Ireland championship structure, based on feedback gathered by the Gaelic Players Association (GPA).

The changes would see the introduction of a round-robin series in the Leinster and Munster championships. Five teams would contest the series, with each side having two home games and two away.

There would also be a third route to the All-Ireland through a provincial qualifier group with Westmeath, Laois, Kerry, Carlow and Antrim all featuring in the group.

The GAA submitted these proposals at Central Council today for approval at GAA Special Congress.

The proposed changes have been largely well received by teams contesting the Liam MacCarthy Cup, while teams participating in the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher competitions are less supportive of the reforms.

Based on feedback gathered by the GPA, 70% of Liam MacCarthy squads are in favour of the changes, while just 40% of teams in the lower tier competitions support the proposals.

These teams are also calling for 'a longer championship season' as well as double-headers with Leinster or All-Ireland Championship games in order to increase the profile of their competitions.

A statement released by the GPA reads:

"70% of Liam McCarthy squads would be supportive of the new Championship Proposals. 50% of squads are not in favour of the current qualifier group structure as only one team can progress from this group. 
 
"The proposals do not have a majority support from squads participating in the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher competitions with only 40% supportive of the structure.
 
"Squads have expressed concerns that the scheduling of the competitions is too condensed and does not do enough for the promotion or development of hurling in these counties.
 
"These squads have expressed a strong desire for a longer championship season and to have the opportunity for their games to be played before games in the Leinster or All Ireland Championships to enhance the profile of these games.
 
"The GPA are satisfied that the player's voice has been heard at Central Council and that the decision to proceed with bringing the proposed changes to a GAA Special Congress provides the opportunity for player input through a GPA motion suggesting amendment to the championship structure in line with the above." 
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