Club Championships 2016

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Club Championships 2016

Postby Sharp Eye » Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Very disappointed that the "6" group system with 4 teams qualifying from each group has been retained in the Senior Hurling Championship. I am of the opinion that if you are defeated in two championship games that your championship run should be virtually over. We now have a situation that after 5 rounds of group games just 4 teams will be out of the championship. Nobody wants "dead-rubber" games in August with the Semi-Finals and Finals played in October. I believe that in hurling there should be two groups of 4 like football with the championship starting in mid-July. With Offaly in the round robin in championship hurling, I feel sorry for the fixtures committee who now have to arrange all those extra "dead-rubber" games and get our championships completed by October.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:24 pm

The irony of it.

The committee whose findings were considered last night was set up as a direct result of Offaly Senior hurlers’ relegation to Leinster’s round robin for 2016. Because the entire month of May has been lost to club hurling. Club fixtures needed to be reduced in number.

Measures were proposed, following consultation with clubs. The irony is that the football community adapted the committee’s proposals for both championship and league. The hurling community opted to retain the 2015 model for next year.

It’s as if the Offaly hurling community has its fingers in its ears and is chanting la-la-la-la-la-la-la at the top of its voice. Come to think of it, Offaly hurling has been doing that for almost two decades now anyway, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.

Let’s look at Offaly hurling’s 2016 schedule. Welsh Cup on January 3rd and January 17th. Maybe a semi-final on the 24th, maybe a final on the 31st.

On to the League. Matches on February 14th and 21st. A break for the Fitzgibbon cup on February 28th (which seems to be earmarked for U21 hurling’s first round). Then there are NHL matches on March 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th (quarter-final or relegation final day). Offaly have an NFL match on 3rd April so that’s out too.

As for the championship, the hurlers’ round robin matches are on May 1st, 6th (Saturday) and 22nd. If they emerge from that, they hurl Leix or Galway a fortnight later, on 5th June. A possible Leinster semi-final would be on June 22nd. On the week between rounds 1 & 2, Offaly footballers play Longford. Win that and they face Westmeath on June 12th. Now, that mightn’t mean much to an Offaly Hurling Man who’d place ‘bursting footballs’ atop his hobby list, but it’s enough to put a halt to the early rounds of the club scene.

Which leaves the weeks ending 10th and 17th April free. They’d hardly play a round on 24th April.

What happens if either Offaly hurlers or footballers win a match or two in the qualifiers? Unlikely, but you never know. It made sense, therefore, to delay the start of the club championships until the intercounty teams are eliminated.

It can be done, but tThey’ll need to get two rounds of the SHC played in April, and they need Offaly hurlers and footballers exiting the championship at the earliest possible opportunity. And it looks like the U21 hurling championship will not be played out until November. Fortunately the footballers weren’t as stubborn. If they were, there’d be no hope of having an Offaly county final completed in time, not without midweek matches anyway.

Can they do like the Lisbon Treaty and vote on it again?
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby ah lethimoutwithit » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:52 am

Ah Jayz,

And people call the county board backwards?

Is there any of the hurling fraternity that were at the meeting that can explain why they rejected the new proposals and had they been thoroughly discussed at club level in advance?

The football proposals are following a similar timeframe to the set up in Laois, albeit the format is different.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby Wing Back » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:50 am

To be honest I have to say I'm very disappointed with this outcome as it does nothing to advance the set up of the county and also does nothing to ease the fixture congestion for many of our underage hurlers hurling at various levels with different squads teams schools/colleges, U21/Minor Club and U21/Minor county aswell as senior at both club and county. To ease the fixture congestion here in any way should be welcomed and its disappointing the clubs have not bought into this.

I can see why they did this though as many clubs who may consider themselves below the top 4 would have rejected the proposals in order to better ensure knock-out championship and prolong there own season and ultimately dragging out the county one.

I would be in favour of 2 groups of 6 with the top 2 from each group going forward to the semi finals. And also having a relegation playoff between the bottom ranked team in each group to decide who goes down on the same weekend.

But that probably won't fly with many of the beaten quarter finalists in this year championship or even the other group teams who weren't relegated.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby lovelyhurling101 » Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:02 pm

Does anybody know what proposals exactly were put forward to the county board?

I can't understand how they plan on using the same format with 6 team groups and hope to get a championship finished in October, when championships are not going to kick off until July (at the earliest).

I would certainly be looking at changing the format of the hurling championship to 3 groups of 4. As the hurling and football championships are being played on alternating weeks, reducing the group stages from 5 rounds to 3 will free up a full month. A shorter championship will mean every game will have a 'championship feel' about it, as every game will be important which certainly isn't the case with the glorified league we have at the moment. The actual league could be played off before the championship begins, once there's no gripes over playing it off without the county players.

To paint a clearer picture of my proposal, I have outlined sample groups below and potential group standings after 3 rounds (hope I don't offend anyone).

Group A Points Score
Coolderry: 6 +17
Shinrone: 3 +1
Belmont: 3 0
Lusmagh: 0 -17

Group B Points Score
St Ryghnas: 6 +18
Birr: 4 +22
Tullamore: 2 -12
Balinamere: 0 -22

Group C Points Score
K/K: 6 +22
Kinnity: 3 +14
Seir Kieran: 3 -1
Shamrocks: 0 -26

I would be leaning towards sticking with 8 teams qualifying for quarter finals (although, there could be an argument for 6 teams with the 2 highest scoring group winners heading straight to semis). Anyway, we would be looking at the top 2 teams from each group along with the 2 3rd placed teams with the highest points and score difference progressing to the quarters. To decide who plays who in the quarter finals I have adapted Uefa's system for Euro 2016.

1st A vs. 2nd C, 2nd A vs. 2nd B, 1st B vs. 3rd A/C, 1st C vs. 3rd A/B followed by open draw for semi finals.

So the quarter finals in this instance would be as follows:
Coolderry vs. Kinnity, Shinrone vs. Birr, K/K vs. Belmont, St. Ryghnas vs. Seir Kieran.

In terms of relegation, we would have 2 semi finals, with the 3rd place team that failed to qualify playing the bottom team with the worst record, and the remaining 2 teams playing the other semi, as follows:
Tullamore vs. Shamrocks, Lusmagh vs. Balinamere.

Although it is a shorter championship, it still guarantees every team a minimum of 4 championship games and should have a bit more of a spark about it, with a showpiece final in St. Brendans park :wink: .

As Mr. Herbs asked above, can we vote again? It's still only November all the same. Surely not too late to let common sense prevail. We could avoid the fixture mess that we are sleep walking into at the moment.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby Lone Shark » Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:22 pm

As I was part of the review group that put the list of proposals together, it's fair to say that I have a bit of an idea what was put forward.... :P

Very simply, what was proposed was three groups of four, with the implementation of the old "weak group" system. The plan was that clubs would then have the choice to continue with the "weak group" in 2017 or to work towards replicating the football (i.e. Senior A, Senior B, Intermediate with 8 clubs in each) in that year. The reason we went with that was that while the hurling group games in Offaly have been quite competitive in recent years, the simple fact of the matter is that there is a gulf. Seven clubs (Birr, Coolderry, KK, Rynaghs, Shinrone, Seir Kieran and Belmont) have played in quarter finals in each of the last four years. That leaves just one spot, that has been filled by Tullamore (twice), Brosna Gaels and Ballinamere at various points. Nine out of thirty group games last year were decided by 15 points or more, and you have to go all the way back to Tullamore vs Birr in 2009 to find the last time that there was a real shock in the Offaly SHC - by that I mean a club that would have been perceived as in the bottom half of the SHC beating a championship front runner.

Now I accept that there are people within Ballinamere, Lusmagh, Shamrocks and Kinnitty who might argue that they are senior clubs and don't want to be quarantined away in a separate section, however our brief was to look at the championship as a whole and the simple fact of the matter is that for as long as we persist with 12 senior clubs, the evidence would suggest that there will be at least two or three that are out of their depth against the big sides.

All that said, I still have huge respect for the democratic aspect of the GAA. It was made clear to the clubs that if we don't make changes, there will be games fixed for mid-April. It was also made clear that the league is due to start in early April, so there will be at most, two league games played by the time the first round of the SHC and IHC comes around. It was also made clear that clubs will prepare for those games but that if Offaly happen to win an NHL quarter final next year (and would that be such a shock, with a real possibility of playing Waterford/Dublin/Galway at home?) then all that prep will be for nothing, and games will be put off.

Clubs knew all this, and still voted to retain the status quo. I don't agree with them, but they are the clubs of the county and that is their right. All I'll say is that if it rolls around to next summer and they start whinging about the gap from April to late July, or if they end up playing lots of games close together, then I hope to jaysus they remember why this situation has come about.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby Sharp Eye » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:01 pm

I do not agree with a "Weak Group". If the club is senior, they are senior and all should have an equal chance. The "weak group" gives these teams an easier chance of reaching the knockout stages of the championship. If the aim is to "protect" the 4 weaker teams, then the senior championship should be reduced to 8 teams as the football. I propose 3 groups x 4 teams. The previous years county finalists to be in group one and group two. All remaining group positions to be decided by open draw. The winners of Group One & Group Two qualify for the Co Semi-Finals. The winners of Group Three and the 3 x Second Placed teams qualify for Co Quarter Finals. This will help reduce the number of "dead-rubber" games.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby Lone Shark » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:12 pm

Sharp Eye wrote:I do not agree with a "Weak Group". If the club is senior, they are senior and all should have an equal chance. The "weak group" gives these teams an easier chance of reaching the knockout stages of the championship. If the aim is to "protect" the 4 weaker teams, then the senior championship should be reduced to 8 teams as the football. I propose 3 groups x 4 teams. The previous years county finalists to be in group one and group two. All remaining group positions to be decided by open draw. The winners of Group One & Group Two qualify for the Co Semi-Finals. The winners of Group Three and the 3 x Second Placed teams qualify for Co Quarter Finals. This will help reduce the number of "dead-rubber" games.


For what it's worth, I wouldn't be a fan of "the weak group" in the long term either, however part of our brief was to do something about the number of uncompetitive games, since that featured strongly in the correspondence from clubs. In an ideal world, a weak group in 2016 would have been a natural stepping stone towards the introduction of a SHC "B" in 2017. That's obviously off the table now.

At all times, we were completely informed by what came back from clubs - and that's what made it so disappointing, personally. By a country mile, the key concerns raised were the lack of interest in league games (partially due to the absence of county players) and the huge gap between the early championship games and the resumption in late summer.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby Lone Shark » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:19 pm

I'm also conscious of the fact that the debate on here seems quite one-sided, so in the interests of balance, I checked with Shinrone GAA club tonight if they were okay with their response to the proposals being posted up on here, and they said that they were. In fairness to the club, it's clear that they put a lot of thought into what was proposed and that they were aware of the fact that by voting for a retention of the status quo, they were voting for the April/July scenario. Naturally, I'd have nothing but respect for the views of any club that sat down as a group to consider the pros and cons of the situation and didn't just get blinded by the dream of a perfect solution that doesn't exist. I'd have to say that while I don't agree with their line of thinking, I really appreciate the way that they took the whole process seriously and engaged at every step along the way. This was what they sent back to us.




Shinrone GAA Club wrote:
Having met as a club tonight and discussed at length the proposed structure changes to the Championship we make the following comments and recommendations in relation to the hurling Championship only. As we do not play any football we feel it only fair not to comment or make judgement on football proposals.

The report opened with two comments that:

''many club Players are idle for long stretches of the summer''.'' leaving many others short of a sufficiently substantial programme of games, at both adult and underage level''.

1. In the proposed structure change the championship is now going to be even shorter that here to fore with 2 games less in the group stages so players are going to be idle even longer.

2. Championship is where its at for all clubs and players. Leagues are only ever seen as a warm up to championship action and no amount of league games can ever be as meaningful as championship. In this proposal and the late start to championship we predict that leagues will become even more meaningless due to the fact of this long gap to championship we feel a lot of third level students will take the J1 route for the summer and return just before championship and in some cases may not return at all. We know ourselves that Championship in the Summer months keeps a number of players on home shores.

3. Underage are not short of games its just the way the championship continues to be strung out because as a county we are insisting on finishing our premium competitions in October and November ever year. If we believe that this is helping us compete with Soccer and Rugby then we are living in the dark ages, we are only competing against our selves by doing this. Why do we continue to worry about other sports instead of promoting our own games week in week out.

4. The report also mentions
''the lopsided nature of many games at senior level in both football and hurling.''
Yet the proposal to repair this is to create a so called weak group with two teams from this weak group going into a Quarter final and four supposedly stronger teams finishing in 3rd & 4th in the A & B group getting knocked out surely meaning two very very lopsided quarter finals.

5.The report sums up by saying
''A thriving club scene is more than absolutely vital to the wellbeing of our county, it is the very reason that we all become and remain involved in gaelic games. These recommendations seek to foster that culture, and we ask for your endorsement.''
It is our firm belief that changing to the existing structure serves to facilitate County teams where squads of 30 are going to be looked after and forgetting about the 55 to 60 adult players odd in ever club in the County who have to sit out championship action for a long stretch of the Summer.

6. Having examined the inter county Round Robin series and the games there after we are of the opinion you can still run the current structures of championship if we simply work and operate to the rules and by laws currently in place where by - club championships can be played up to and including 10 days before an inter county game and this is our preferred option.

However we live in the real world and know this rule will never be enforced and should probably be removed, and as such leaves us in a dilemma.

So in order to address some of what we have mentioned above, we propose the following possible amendments.

1. The winners and runners up of the so called weak group are put into an open draw against the two teams that finish in third position in groups 1 & 2 with the winners of these games going to the Quarter finals. (this is one extra game/ weekend for 4 teams).

or if that is not acceptable


2. You seed the county finalists and all other teams go into an open draw over the 3 groups with 2015 County Finalists in Group A & B - the winners of these groups go to Semi Finals and as in the proposal ,Winners and runners up of group C play runners up of A & B in Quarter Finals. Championship is Championship and as such there should not be a so called weak group. But the issue remains in this scenario of less games than exists at the moment.

If there is such a concern about lopsided games then maybe we should also investigate the option of going back to a 10 team senior championship in 2017 and re-grade two teams and promote no team from Intermediate if the belief is that there is such a big gulf in different teams ability.

We for one don't believe this Gulf exists in hurling and there is very little outside of maybe the top 3 between the rest of the hurling clubs . If this was to be considered then an open draw for 2016 championship is the fairest option.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby ah lethimoutwithit » Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:00 am

In fairness to Shinrone,I have found that too in the past. They give things due consideration and in general try to take the bigger picture into account.

Personally, and I don't have much of a hurling background, I think the idea of a Senior B championship would be the way forward in the current climate and would be a great competition with a real level of intensity in the games.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby KeshaWantsTimber » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:12 pm

The dilemma Offaly are faced with is another example of the GAA creating fixtures without thinking of the consequences. The Leinster round robin fixtures have caused major headaches for county boards and caused the league to finish in March when, in reality, it should only be starting. The Leinster preliminaries should revert to a shorter series instead of taking 6 weeks to eliminate 4 teams. Either that or the gaps between games at the latter stages of the c'ship should be narrowed. It's good that the weaker teams are being accommodated in Leinster but there has to be a balance.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby bracknaghboy » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:45 pm

Anybody got the balls for straight knockout? 12 teams in a hat. First 4 out into the 1/4's. Next 8 play each other to fill the 4 remaining slots.
11 games in total and could in theory be ran over 4 weeks.
The club GAA year needs to significantly shortened not by weeks but by months. Nothing sadder on a GAA field that a "Championship" game where both teams are not giving it their 100% all. The SFC group this year was as poor as it gets. I'm much more in favour of quality over quantity.
By the way "seeding" has to be the greatest load of muck ever...........rewarding teams for something they did last year is pathetic.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby Lone Shark » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:24 am

bracknaghboy wrote:Anybody got the balls for straight knockout? 12 teams in a hat. First 4 out into the 1/4's. Next 8 play each other to fill the 4 remaining slots.
11 games in total and could in theory be ran over 4 weeks.
The club GAA year needs to significantly shortened not by weeks but by months. Nothing sadder on a GAA field that a "Championship" game where both teams are not giving it their 100% all. The SFC group this year was as poor as it gets. I'm much more in favour of quality over quantity.
By the way "seeding" has to be the greatest load of muck ever...........rewarding teams for something they did last year is pathetic.


I can't imagine that there would be a huge amount of support for this. Players train all year to represent their club in the championship and while a one off knockout tie might make for better viewing, it's not what players would want.

That said, there has to be a middle ground - the word "championship" means something to every GAA person out there because it implies a game of real importance, where both sides will be completely ready and committed to give their best. Very little of what we saw in last year's round robin stages of the SFC "A" lived up to that. If you were a Gracefield supporter most of the games were worth watching, but beyond that every club had match days that were far short of expectation,
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby KeshaWantsTimber » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:27 am

bracknaghboy wrote:Anybody got the balls for straight knockout? 12 teams in a hat. First 4 out into the 1/4's. Next 8 play each other to fill the 4 remaining slots.
11 games in total and could in theory be ran over 4 weeks.
The club GAA year needs to significantly shortened not by weeks but by months. Nothing sadder on a GAA field that a "Championship" game where both teams are not giving it their 100% all. The SFC group this year was as poor as it gets. I'm much more in favour of quality over quantity.
By the way "seeding" has to be the greatest load of muck ever...........rewarding teams for something they did last year is pathetic.


Sorry Bracknaghboy but knockout and the prospect of 1 important match a year is the way backwards not forwards. Club players are the biggest group in the GAA and the most neglected with regards to proper matches. Imagine trying convince a lad from Brosna Gaels (for example) last year to train for 6-7 months for one match against K/K?

Different clubs currently have ways of measuring progress which they didn't have years ago. Some clubs goal would be to get out of their group, or get to a quarter or semi-final. This gives them a fairly clear view of where they rank and the next year they can build on it. Knock-out gives them very little except some clubs getting a handy draw but getting a hiding when the big boys roll out.

Club players should have at least 4/5 important matches in June/July and August. Its when 95% of the country wants to be playing but only 5% are.

It's the biggest problem in the GAA at the minute and it will kill playing numbers if it is allowed continue.
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Re: Club Championships 2016

Postby ryot » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:32 pm

I agree there should be a number of championship games for every team but groups of 6 are a bit much. I would prefer groups of 4 which would produce a more competitive element.

What puzzles me is the apparent lack of respect for Leagues..even the Shinrone response seemed to have very little respect for them....

Now I'm an ancient and in my young playing days never had Leagues to play in but I live in Kildare and here the Leagues, especially the 3 "Senior" Football Divisions ( equating to Senior, Inter & Junior A) are very competitive and winning the top Division for the Leinster Leader Cup is a big deal... The Hurling Leagues here might not be such a big deal until the semis & Finals but this can be due to the smaller number of Hurling clubs whereas in Offaly there are a load of top hurling clubs from Senior down to Junior....
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