St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield’s Aaron Landy in action against Ruan’s Aidan Lynch, Photograph: Natasha Barton

DISCUSSIONS have commenced on the potential splitting of the Clare intermediate hurling championship (IHC) in two.

Creation of a Clare Premier IHC for the top teams in the grade was proposed by Sixmilebridge who wished to see the current format split in two.

Their proposal was compiled before it was confirmed that eighteen teams would contest the 2022 Clare SHC.

“I don’t know how it would work with fourteen teams,” Sixmilebridge delegate Niall Gilligan admitted. He referenced the Premier Intermediate and Intermediate championships held in Limerick as an example to follow. “Divide the sixteen teams in two to form another championship. We feel the intermediate hurling championship, the sixteen teams have become imbalanced, the top eight teams are much stronger than the lower eight teams,” the 1997 All-Ireland winner stated.

Chairman of Clare GAA, Kieran Keating suggested that the motion be parked until the IHC returns to sixteen teams.

Tulla PRO, Edmund Jennings questioned, “how do you adjudicate who is in the top seven or lower seven if you’re implementing it this year, do you run a competition to do it”. Gilligan responded by suggesting the 2021 quarter-finalists be entered into the Premier IHC. “We could aim it for 2023 or 2024 so clubs know they are trying to stay in the Premier intermediate,” Keating responded.

Corofin’s Ambrose Heagney commented, “we should review the championship after this year to see if clubs are winning by big margins, it is something for next year as opposed to this year”.

This sentiment was backed by John O’Sullivan of Ruan, “there was a lot of lob-sided results but it wouldn’t be fair to judge it solely on last year’s championship because of COVID”. “We’re deferring a lot of stuff to next year, it will be lob-sided running it into next year,” Brendan Foley of Smith O’Briens replied.

Robert Frost, O’Callaghans Mills delegate backed the call for its deferral, “some teams from Junior A might want to come up”.

Opposition to the proposal was voiced by Andrew Monahan of Tubber. “I don’t think it’s a good idea, why don’t we divide the senior in two so. Intermediate is intermediate, I don’t agree with the dividing situation”.

Gilligan told the January meeting of the County Board that he was happy to come back next year to discuss the matter further.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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