The Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA) has announced that there could be just 13 hurling teams competing for the 2016 All-Ireland hurling championship. However this will only happen if a proposal from the GAA is approved.
Under the proposal 15 teams would compete in 2014, with relegation to the Christy Ring Cup reducing the number during the following two years.
Counties from the group of “developing teams” could drop to the second tier, ensuring the stronger counties would compete for the All-Ireland.
This plan would be review every three years.
Here are the Central Competitions Control Committee hurling proposals key points:
MacCarthy Cup to be reduced to 13 counties by 2016
Promotion from Christy Ring Cup to be dependent on a play-off between winners and a MacCarthy Cup county
Qualifier group to be played on a round-robin basis between the five lowest-ranked MacCarthy Cup counties (Antrim, Laois, Carlow, Westmeath and London), with top two progressing to senior championship
Similar structures to govern movement between the other championship tiers – Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups
2014 National League
Three options to go before Central Council
Two involve six-team formats in Divisions One A and One B with either quarter-finals or semi-finals to follow the regulation season
There is also the option of an eight-team Division One with top four contesting play-offs and bottom county playing Division Two winners in a relegation play-off