Offaly SHC moves to ten teams for 2021

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kevin@tullamoretribune.ie

THE Offaly Senior Hurling Championship will move from an eight team championship to a 10 team championship in 2021 after delegates at the November meeting of the Offaly GAA County Board voted to back a motion put forward by St Rynagh's to increase the numbers.

Such changes had to be voted on last Tuesday week as the change in the number of teams in championships will have knock on effects for the 2020 championship with relegation in particular.

The 2020 championships will stay in the same format as this year except there will be no relegation from Senior to Senior 'B' hurling while both finalists of the Senior 'B' championship will be promoted to the top championship.

What it means for 2021 is that there will be 10 teams in the Senior, six teams in the Senior 'B' and eight in the Intermediate championship.

The Senior will have two groups of five in 2021 and how these championships are technically structured doesn't have to be decided until the November meeting of the County Board in 2020.

There was also a vote on the structure of the groups for 2020 with the status quo of one group of eight winning out over two groups of four.

Meanwhile in the football structures for 2020, there will be a slight change from 2019 – unlike hurling, delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of retaining the eight team Senior Football Championship for 2021.

2019 saw two groups of four with teams playing teams in the opposite group on a criss cross basis earning teams an extra group game. The top three teams in each group went on to the knockout stages while the bottom team in each group played in a relegation final.

The change will see the six teams with the best accumulated points total go through to the knockouts regardless of what group you are in.

The change came about as some clubs were unhappy with Cappincur advancing to the knockout stages this year after coming third in their group with zero points while Tullamore were in a relegation final in the other group having four points.

The change simply means there is no set quota of teams having to qualify from a group and the six teams with the most points will go through.

Meanwhile, there was also a vote for the 2021 structure of the football championships with four proposals on the table.

Gracefield proposed a 16 team Senior championship like that in Laois. Eight first round games would be played with the eight winners advancing. The eight losers of the opening round games would be drawn to play each other with the four winners advancing in the championship while the remaining four teams, who would now have two losses, would play in relegation semi finals.

The eight winners from round one would play against each other with the four winners going to a quarter final while the four losers of that second round proper would play the four winners from the games between the beaten teams in round one.

The four winners from this round would then go on to the quarter finals proper and join the four winners from round two and the championship would progress on a knockout basis from then on.

The second proposal was the same as the St Rynagh's one in the hurling that would have seen the football also move to a 10 team championship.

The third option was from St Brigid's and would see a six team Senior championship with the top four going into semi finals and the bottom two in a relegation final. That would mean no promotion in Senior 'B' football for 2020 and two teams relegated from the Senior.

The fourth option was the status quo of sticking with an eight team championship in Senior, Senior 'B' and Intermediate.

After a vote, it was decided that the status quo would remain in football for 2021.

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