The result of the recent Special Congress at Croke Park means that there will be a very different Leinster Senior Hurling Championship in existence from 2018-2020.
In addition to this there are new formats adopted for both the U21 and Minor Hurling Championships.
LEINSTER SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
The success of a proposed three-year trial motion put forward by the GAA’s CCCC/Ard Comhairle means that in 2018 there will be five teams competing for the Bob O’Keeffe Cup and the crown of Leinster champions.
The five teams are: Kilkenny, Wexford, Dublin, Offaly and holders Galway.
The Provincial Championship will be played on a round-robin basis with every team having two home and two away games. The counties finishing in the top two places will contest the Leinster final.
The Leinster champions will advance to the All-Ireland semi-final.
An amendment put forward by Laois, Offaly and Meath means that there will be a change to the All-Ireland quarter final stage.
The third-place team in the provincial group shall play a Preliminary Quarter Final against one of the Tier 2 Championship finalists with Tier 2 teams having home advantage. The Tier 2 winners and runner up fixtures against the third placed teams in Leinster and Munster will alternate on an annual basis.
The beaten Provincial finalists from Leinster and Munster shall play one of the Preliminary Quarter Final winners in the All-Ireland Quarter Finals
The Leinster and Munster champions will play an All-Ireland semi-final against one of the Quarter Final winners with repeat pairings avoided where possible.
A new Tier 2 Championship will be contested by counties that previously competed in the Qualifer Round-Robin section of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship. In 2018, it will consist of the following counties: Carlow, Laois, Meath, Westmeath, Kerry and Antrim. It is envisioned that this Tier 2 competition will have a prestigious name attached to it. During the debate at Croke Park, former GAA President and Leinster Chairman Nickey Brennan referred to it as the ‘Joe MacDonagh Cup’ in honour of the Galway giant and former GAA President who died last year.
The Tier 3 Christy Ring Cup will feature Armagh, Derry, Down, Kildare, London, Mayo, Roscommon and Wicklow.
The Tier 4 Nickey Rackard Cup will feature: Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Monaghan, Tyrone and Warwickshire.
The Tier 5 Lory Meagher Cup will be contested by Cavan, Fermanagh, Lancashire and Sligo.
LEINSTER U21 HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
A motion was passed with 72 per cent to bring in the following three-year trial.
The All-Ireland U21 Hurling Championship shall be organized initially on a Provincial basis in Munster and Leinster – with Galway and any Ulster team(s) as agreed by Ulster and Leinster Councils participating in the Leinster Championships.
An amendment from Cork that was passed now allows for U21 All-Ireland semi-finals to take place where the Leinster champions play the beaten Munster finalists and the Munster champions playing the beaten Leinster finalists.
LEINSTER MINOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
The new format for minor that was passed also allows for Ulster and Leinster to agree on Ulster teams playing in the Leinster Minor Championship.
The Leinster Championship is run off as it has been before now with the Leinster champions advancing to the All-Ireland semi-final.
A new All-Ireland round robin group will be made up of Galway and the beaten Leinster and Munster finalists. Each team in the group has two games with the top two teams advancing to the All-Ireland semi-finals.