Sports

North Tipp Senior Hurling Clubs Want An Extra Championship Round

Thursday, 17 November 2016

NORTH Tipperary Senior Hurling clubs were unanimous in their support for an extra round to their North Tipperary Senior Hurling championship. This was the feeling following an hour long discussion held on the matter at the recent North Board meeting held in Moneygall GAA Club house. As a result Jackie Meagher, Toomevara, suggested that his club would send a motion to the County Board meeting to be held on November 29th to decide how the club championships would be run for 2017.
The meeting was held there as part of the Moneygall 1916 GAA celebrations. Darby Collison, who played hurling with Moneygall back then, went on to become the first North Tipperary player to win an all-Ireland senior hurling medal when Tipp defeated Kilkenny at Croke Park on January 21st 2017.
North Board chairman Dan Kennedy, Roscrea, chaired the meeting.
The discussion arose because the 2016 the North senior and intermediate hurling championships were run on a straight knockout basis. This decision was reached at a County Board meeting held in the Thurles Sarsfields on November 23rd after a motion was worded that clubs involved in both the North and county championship would stretch to a minimum of ten rounds and a maximum of eleven. The extra round would be necessary if a divisional winner failed to qualify through the round robin stages of the county championship.
This meant that a straight knockout basis for the senior and intermediate championships and North Tipp clubs were not happy, mainly because of the fact that it costs €1,000 to enter a team and clubs felt they were not getting their money's worth.
Chairman Dan Kennedy said that the system used in 2016 would not be changed as it was part of a two year cycle. It was cast in stone he said. He said that they need to do a lot more to improve the standard of hurling in North Tipperary. Clubs should take league competitions more seriously and organise a league during the summer months when Tipperary are involved in the Munster and All-Ireland campaigns.
However many speakers spoke against him stating they want at least two games in the North championship.
Michael Tierney, Borris-Ileigh, stated that clubs want more championship games and that if his club was asked to play league games without Brendan Maher, Dan McCormack and Paddy Stapleton, there would no games, it was as simple as that. Sean Creamer, Portroe said that clubs hold the North Championship in high esteem and use it as a stepping stone to winning the county championship. At the moment clubs have just one chance in a championship they aspire to do well in.
Shane Brophy, Lorrha, suggested that clubs in North Tipperary are not looking to change the format drastically. Gilbert Williams, Kilruane MacDonaghs, would prefer a group system but if all else fails the system used in 2015 would do. Noel Carey, Templederry, asked if the GAA really listens to club concerns while other delegates such as Maurice Leamy, Silvermines, and Jim Nagle, Nenagh, supported Noel and asked that the County Board heed what clubs are saying.
The discussion was finally brought to an end when Jackie Meagher, Toomevara, said his club were putting a motion forward to the November meeting of the County Board seeking an extra round to the North championship.
The motion states: 'We propose an amendment to Senior Hurling Championship for 2017 as follows - Divisional championship stage takes five rounds maximum.
Footnote
The 2015 system favoured by the majority of clubs ran along these lines. The fourteen teams went into an open draw i.e. seven games to form the first round. In the second round the seven winners were guarded and drawn from a hat to play against the seven first round losers. This meant that any team who won a game would go forward to the knockout stages with teams that won two games going straight into the quarter finals. In addition any team that won one game would also go into the quarter finals but if the number of teams stretched to nine or more would require play-off games where necessary.

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