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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

Explainer: What changes could be made to hurling at today's Special Congress?

Here’s what you need to know, broken down in simple terms.

General view of Congress Source: James Crombie/INPHO

LATER TODAY, A Special Congress takes place to consider potential restructures to the GAA’s All-Ireland senior, U21 and minor hurling championships. 

Here are the key motions up for debate:

1. Liam MacCarthy Cup restructure

The restructuring of the All-Ireland senior hurling championship will take centre stage on Saturday.

The CCCC/Ard Chomhairle (Motion 2) is proposing to reduce the competition to 10 teams, and play the five-team Munster and Leinster championships on a round-robin basis. The top two teams in each provincial group would face-off in the provincial final, while the third placed teams advance to the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

The bottom two teams in either group play-off would reach the quarter-finals. The quarter-final winners play the provincial champions in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

There are three proposed amendments to this motion:

  • Laois, Offaly, Meath (Motion 6) propose that the finalists from the Tier 2 competition meet the third-placed teams in Munster and Leinster in the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-finals.
  • Cork (Motion 7) Propose to remove the provision which potentially allows for one of the five Munster teams to be regraded to Tier 2 for the following year. It also proposes that should Kerry win Tier 2, they’d play in Leinster.

Tipperary (Motion 3) is proposing a similar 10-team provincial structure, but it’s to be played on a knock-out/losers group basis.

Dublin (Motion 4) proposes no change to the provincial championships, but increases the All-Ireland quarter-finals to four games. It proposes the provincial champions and runners-up in Leinster and Munster meet one of four winners from Round 1 of the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Cork (Motion 5) proposes the same as the Dublin motion (above), but instead of four quarter-finals it proposes bringing in the ‘Super 8s’ similar to football.

A general view of the Christy Ring Cup Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

2. Lower tiers in hurling

The CCCC/Ard Chomhairle (Motion 2) proposes that the Tier 2 championship will include the four counties currently in the Leinster championship qualifier group and two other counties based on finishing positions in 2017 championship.

It would be run on a round-robin basis with the top two teams contesting the final. The winners would qualify for the Liam MacCarthy Cup the following year, replacing the bottom team in Leinster or Munster, as appropriate.

The participants in all three lower tiers (Christy Ring/Nicky Rackard/Lory Meagher) are to be based on finishing positions in this year’s championship, and they’ll all be played on a round-robin basis.

3. All-Ireland U21 hurling championship

The CCCC/Ard Chomhairle (Motion 9) proposes that Galway and any suitable Ulster teams (as agreed by Ulster & Leinster Councils) participate in Leinster. And the winners of Munster and Leinster shall play in the All-Ireland Final.

Offaly (Motion 10) is proposing that Galway participate in Munster and any Ulster teams in Leinster.

Cork (Motion 11) proposes the All-Ireland semi-finals are retained, with Munster champions playing Leinster runners-up, and vice-versa.

General view of the Munster U21 Hurling trophy Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4. All-Ireland minor hurling championship

The CCCC/Ard Chomhairle (Motion 12) proposes that any suitable Ulster teams participate in Leinster. The winners of Leinster and Munster qualify for the All-Ireland semi-finals, while the runners-up in both provinces and Galway compete in a round-robin All-Ireland series. The top two teams advance to the All-Ireland semi-finals.

5. Age grades (football & hurling)

The CCCC/Ard Chomhairle (Motion 20) proposes that underage age grades at club level be altered from U12, U14, U16 and U18 to U11, U13, U15 and U17.

6. Playing rules (football)

The CCCC/Ard Chomhairle (Motion 21) proposes that the kick-out must pass the 20m line before a member of the defending team touches it.

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Written by Kevin O’Brien and posted on

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