Major changes in the local hurling championship are being advocated by the Galway hurling review group whose stated objective is to “improve the standard of club and inter-county hurling in Galway”.
The group, under the chairmanship of former GAA president Seosamh MacDonncha, believe the changes are necessary to increase the intensity and fervour of championship hurling in the county and avoid what was termed by the chairman - “cosy hurling”.
The recommendations are contained in a report which was launched this week at a meeting attended by most hurling clubs in the county.
In the senior championship for next year they recommend a round one qualifier with an open draw of 10 teams versus 10 teams.
Then there would be a round two qualifier with the 15 teams which progress from those games being joined by the intermediate champions to make a 16 team Senior Hurling Championship with four groups of four.
Open draw championship at inter-county level
The group also calls on the Galway Hurling Board to lead the charge for an open draw in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
The group, which included Ollie Canning, Sean Silke, Sean Walsh, Pat Monaghan, Cyril Farrell, PC Loughnane, Conor Hayes, Pete Finnerty and Maigh Cuilinn’s club delegate Mike Darcy, has more than 70 recommendations in the report. It is now up to the county hurling board to make any decisions.
The group also declared that the majority of clubs in the county had no desire to enter the Galway hurlers into the Leinster Championship at minor or u-21 level, but were happy to remain in Leinster at the senior grade.
The report states: "The feedback received by the GHRG in its consultation with the clubs and stakeholders indicates there has been general satisfaction with Galway's participation in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.
"However, the almost unanimous feedback from clubs, players, and officials indicates that there is no appetite for the county minor and u-21 teams to participate in the Leinster championship."
The extensive report, which was strongly supported in an administrative capacity by John Hynes, who is the CEO of the Galway County Board, and Mary Kenny, who is secretary of the Galway Hurlers Supporters’ Club, has an appendix on the Galway Urban Development Plan from 2009 which contains some interesting statistics and facts.
The full report is available on the Galwaygaa.ie website and the proposals for the change to the local hurling championship are on page 16, with a full club championship calendar for 2012 on page 15.