Gaelic GamesThe Schemozzle

The Schemozzle: The tiered system in hurling comes into focus

It’s interesting to note that the final 12 of the Liam MacCarthy this year will be identical to the line-up who started out in there in 2005

Hurling’s tiered system has allowed sides to compete for silverware but, 20 seasons since its introduction, few if any have climbed the ladder and stayed there.

Back in 2005, a three-tiered system was established, with 12 teams in the Liam MacCarthy, 10 in the Christy Ring and 12 in the Nickey Rackard.

This year, 11 teams started off in the top tier, with the second-tier finalists, Laois and Offaly, joining in the knock-out stages.

It’s interesting to note that the final 12 of the Liam MacCarthy this year will be identical to the line-up who started out in there in 2005. The only side who started this year in the top tier and didn’t in 2005 were Carlow, who were relegated yesterday.


While two more tiers have been added, nine of the 12 sides who started in tier three at the outset remain in the bottom 12; the outliers are Sligo, Tyrone and London, none of whom made a splash in the Christy Ring Cup this year.

Dublin vs Roscommon draws a crowd of more than 33,000

In 2018, for a dead rubber, Dublin and Roscommon drew 33,240 to Croker, over twice Saturday’s crowd.

Mayo’s Colm Boyle believes the fare on show is one of the reasons for the poor attendances at football matches this year, labelling it “crap” in an interesting Irish Mirror column – and also mentioning the ubiquitous ‘J-word’.

“The quality of the product is certainly an issue. While the Munster hurling championship continues to enthral us year after year, a lot of the time the football, let’s be honest, can be crap to watch,” Boyle wrote.

“But a big reason has to be the lack of jeopardy involved and that is always going to be there until it’s changed so that it is only the top two that get out of the group.”

Jim McGuinness extends his record as Donegal manager

Donegal’s win over Tyrone extends Jim McGuinness’s record as a manager in the provincial and All-Ireland SFCs to 24 wins from 28 matches in his five campaigns (2011-14 inclusive and this year).

That equates to an 85.7% win rate – and his record against Ulster sides is even better. Saturday’s victory was the 19th McGuinness has overseen in 20 championship matches against Ulster opposition.

In that time, Donegal have beaten every county in the northern province bar Fermanagh, whom they haven’t met. And it’s not like the record has been padded; the 19 wins include five victories over Tyrone, four versus Derry and two against Armagh.

The one defeat on his CV against Ulster opposition was the 2013 Ulster final loss to Monaghan.

Tailteann Cup

Is it too early to talk about the ‘curse of the Tailteann Cup’? While the inaugural winners, Westmeath, competed well in the Sam Maguire group stages last year, the fact remains that they have yet to win a championship match from six attempts since winning the Tailteann.

In the last two years, they have exited the Leinster Championship to Louth and Wicklow. 2023 winners Meath, meanwhile, beat Longford but have since lost to Dublin and Louth.

In numbers

1-64 – What Wexford’s Lee Chin has scored cumulatively in his career against Kilkenny.

In words

Might be cheaper to invade and annex Inniskeen than build a new stadium in Dundalk? – Former Louth footballer Jim McEneaney on Twitter/X