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Leinster Hurling Championship could have six teams in 2021
Last Updated: 12/07/19 12:49pm
Leinster GAA chairman Jim Bolger has indicated that the province's hurling championship could be expanded to six teams in 2021.
Calls were made following Carlow's relegation to the Joe McDonagh Cup that Colm Bonnar's charges would benefit from a longer period mixing it with the big guns. Such calls intensified in the wake of Laois' shock victory over Dublin.
"We have a Leinster Council meeting next week and we will discuss it at that," Bolger said.
"This hasn't come up today or yesterday. I even mentioned at looking at having two groups of four at one stage because we were looking at Carlow, Laois, Offaly and Westmeath, we felt they had closed the gap to a level that allowed us to look at that option.
"It is timely to review it now and we will look at what options are available to us. We will know next week what the feeling is when the counties go together.
"I am certainly conscious of the impact of yo-yoing for one team and with all due respect, maybe Laois could stay up there next year. But look at what happened at Offaly already, after coming down last year and Carlow are this year's Offaly, at present. What Carlow would have learnt this year may be lost by going back to the McDonagh.
"So, to ensure teams are able to sustain what they have learned by going up to the top level, the pace of the game and the skills they would have honed, it may not be beneficial for them to go straight back down. It is easier to sustain that level against stiffer opposition, with all due respect to the McDonagh group."
Bolger noted the convenience of a six-team format, suggesting it wouldn't change a huge amount.
"In one respect, if you have six teams, it is ran off in the same time-frame and it is the same for everybody, rather than having two weeks of a rest before the next big game, so we can look at it in that context," he added.
However, it isn't possible for it to be introduced next season.
"We are looking at 2021," he said. "We have to bring this to Congress so it won't kick in til the following year. We are bound by rules in that sense."
Sky Sports' live GAA coverage continues this weekend, with Roscommon vs Tyrone and Donegal vs Meath in the Super 8s.