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The Kerry Hurling Manager Is Right: The Hurling League's Relegation Structures Are Daft

The Kerry Hurling Manager Is Right: The Hurling League's Relegation Structures Are Daft
By Donny Mahoney Updated

Another hurling league has ended, and with it, the opportunity to reflect on just how daft the Hurling League's relegation/promotion structures are. With wins over Laois and Offaly, Ciaran Carey's men should be resting on their laurels and looking forward to this year's Leinster round robin and the 2017 League. Instead, they must again fight for their lives.  Kerry finished with the exact same record as Wexford and Offaly in Division 1B. Their inferior points difference means they have to play Laois (who have been pretty poor in the league and won 0 games) in a relegation playoff, and if they lose that, they'll be playing the winner of Westmeath and Carlow to decide who spends next season in Division 2A. Had Wexford drawn with Laois yesterday, Kery would be in a quarterfinal.

Carey was critical of somebody after the match.

"It's strange and it's something the so-called big boys need to look at. I firmly believe anyone who is on zero points should be the team to go down," he said. (Nice to see the so-called big boys discussed in the same parlance as the 'so-called weaker counties' though we're unclear exactly who the so-called big boys are.)

Up in Ennis, around the same time, Davy Fitz was voicing his own complaints with the league's structures.

The GAA have been tweaking the structures of the hurling leagues for years, but it's only when the league ends that you realise how daft its structures are. They feel like something drawn up on a beermat some Sunday afternoonafter a few pints. Cork and Laois, who have been clearly the worst team in either league, both should be relegated. No playoff is required to determine who the worst teams in the league are.

Similarly, the idea of the 10th best team in the league playing Ireland's best team in a 'quarterfinal' seems bizarre. It was a pleasure to see Waterford win the League from 1B last season but the League should be about the best teams squaring off against each other. The current structures don't facilitate that, and in the case of Kerry, punish the wrong teams.

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