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A good day for Galway hurling as U21 side joins Leinster and new minor quarter-final system

The motions were passed at Special Congress in Croke Park today.

GALWAY ARE THE big winners from the changes approved today to the U21 and minor hurling championship systems.

Galway panel The Galway hurlers before their All-Ireland U21 semi-final loss to Limerick. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Galway underage teams have been frequently hampered by a lack of games as they enter the championship action in late summer in the latter stages of the All-Ireland championships.

But it was approved at Special Congress today in Croke Park that Galway’s U21 hurlers will participate in the Leinster championship while their minor team will feature in a new round-robin quarter-final system.

72% of delegates voted in favour of bring Galway into the Leinster U21 arena along with any Ulster teams – as of agreed by the Ulster and Leinster Councils. An amendment by Offaly that Galway would instead join the Munster U21 championship was defeated with 68% voting against.

Despite Galway and potential Ulster representatives joining Leinster, there will still be All-Ireland semi-final clashes. A Cork motion was passed with 78% in favour, which will see the Leinster U21 winners face the Munster runners-up and the Munster U21 victors taking on the Leinster runners-up at the All-Ireland U21 semi-final stage.

The changes to the minor hurling championship will see it organised initially on a provincial basis in Munster and Leinster. Ulster teams, as agreed by the Ulster and Leinster Councils, shall participate in Leinster.

The benefit for Galway involves them entering the All-Ireland quarter-finals in a round-robin series with the beaten Leinster and Munster finalists. This will ensure Galway’s minor hurling side get at least two championship games every season.

Galway celebrate after the game The Galway minor side celebrate September's All-Ireland final win. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The top two teams in the three-team round-robin group will qualify for the semi-finals. If teams finish level, their places will be determined on tie-break means in order of scoring difference, highest total scores for and highest total goals scored.

The Leinster and Munster minor hurling champions will advance automatically to separate All-Ireland semi-finals and may not meet the defeated finalists of their own province.

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Fintan O'Toole

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