Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
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|Leinster Senior Hurling Championship|
|Current season or competition:
2015 Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
|No. of teams||10|
|Title holders||Kilkenny (69th title)|
|Most titles||Kilkenny (69 titles)|
|TV partner(s)||RTÉ, TV3, Sky Sports|
|Official website||Official website|
The series of games are played during the summer months with the Leinster final currently being played on the first Sunday in July. The prize for the winning team is the Bob O'Keeffe Cup. The championship has always been played on a straight knockout basis whereby once a team loses they are eliminated from the series.
The Leinster Championship is an integral part of the wider All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. The winners of the Leinster final, like their counterparts in the Munster Championship, are rewarded by advancing directly to the semi-final stage of the All-Ireland series of games. The losers of the Leinster final, again like their Munster counterparts, enter the All-Ireland series at the quarter-final stage.
Ten teams currently participate in the Leinster Championship, including Galway from Connacht and Antrim from Ulster. The most successful team in hurling, namely Kilkenny, play their provincial hurling in the Leinster Championship. They have won the provincial title on 69 occasions during their history while also claiming 35 All-Ireland titles; both of these are all-time records.
The title has been won at least once by six of the Leinster counties, all but one of which (Galway) have won the title more than once. Kilkenny are the current champions.
The Leinster Championship is a knockout tournament with pairings drawn at random – there are no seeds, and the draw is usually made in October of the previous year. The competition has become more competitive since the emergence of Dublin as a hurling power.
Each match is played as a single leg. If a match is drawn there is a replay. Drawn replays are now settled with extra time, however, if both sides are still level at the end of extra time a second replay takes place and so on until a winner is found. If the quarter-finals end in draws, extra time is played immediately as replays are only permitted for provincial semi-finals and finals.
The format has remained virtually the same since the very first Leinster Championship in 1888. The biggest change to the championship format took place in 2009. Firstly, Galway have had no opposition in the Connacht Championship since 2004. Due to this it has been decided at a special meeting of the GAA's congress for Galway to join the Leinster Championship for a three-year trial period, starting with the 2009 championship. Antrim GAA, being the only Tier 1 team in the Ulster Championship, will also participate in the Leinster Championship on a three-year trial period. Antrim, however, will also still compete in the Ulster Championship which will be run as a separate tournament to the All-Ireland Hurling Championship. From 2014 on, the five weak counties in the Leinster championship will first play in a group stage before the main championship.
- Round Robin Stage
The five weak counties in the championship will play a round robin group stage. Every team plays the other four teams once each. The top 2 teams from this group advance to the quarter finals of the championship. The bottom team is automatically relegated, and the 2nd last team is entered into a promotion/relegation playoff against the winner of that years Christy Ring cup.
An draw shall be made to determine the pairings for the Leinster quarter-finals. Six teams – whichever four of Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Offaly and Wexford who haven't won the title the previous year, and the two round robin winners– will be included in this draw. The winners of these three games shall advance to the Leinster semi-final stages. The three defeated teams are eliminated from the provincial championship.
An open draw shall also be made to determine the pairings for the two Leinster semi-finals. The current title holders shall receive a bye to one of these semi-finals. They will be joined by the three winners from the quarter-final stages. The winners of these two semi-finals shall advance to the Leinster final. The two defeated teams are eliminated from the provincial championship.
The Leinster Championship has wider implications for the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship. The teams that are defeated in the quarter-finals advance to phase one of the All-Ireland qualifiers. The two teams that are defeated in the Leinster semi-finals advance to phase two of the All-Ireland qualifiers. The winners of the Leinster final automatically qualify for the semi-final stages of the All-Ireland series of games while the runners-up qualify for the quarter-final stages.
The following stadia are frequently used during the Leinster Championship:
Leinster Championship matches were traditionally played at neutral venues or at a location that was deemed to be half-way between the two participants, however, counties eventually came to home and away agreements depending on the size of their stadia. The Leinster final has, in recent times, always been played at the GAA's headquarters in Croke Park in Dublin. Some criticism has been leveled against the Leinster Council for continuing to play the provincial decider in Croke Park, as Kilkenny's dominance over the last decade has led to a downturn in attendances, leading to the match effectively being played in a stadium that isn't even half full.
Trophies and medals
At the end of the Leinster final, the winning team is presented with a trophy. The Bob O'Keeffe Cup is held by the winning team until the following year's final. Traditionally, the presentation is made at a special rostrum in the stand where GAA and political dignitaries and special guests view the match.
The cup is decorated with ribbons in the colours of the winning team. During the game the cup actually has both teams' sets of ribbons attached and the runners-up ribbons are removed before the presentation. The winning captain accepts the cup on behalf of his team before giving a short speech. Individual members of the winning team then have an opportunity to come to the rostrum to lift the cup.
The cup is named after Bob O'Keeffe, a native of Kilkenny who later won an All-Ireland medal with Laois and served as President of the GAA in the 1930s. The cup was donated by the Leinster Council in 1950 to commemorate O'Keeffe. The cup is the biggest to be presented in Gaelic Games, standing 3 feet 8 inches, weighing 564 ounces and with a capacity of 6 gallons. The Celtic chase work has been taken from the Book of Kells. The hurler depicted on the top of the cup is barefooted, which is significant in view of the fact that O'Keeffe originally played in that manner. The original Bob O'Keeffe Cup was donated to the GAA museum at Croke Park in 2005. It was replaced by a replica also named the Bob O'Keeffe Cup.
Since 1995, the Leinster Championship has been sponsored. The sponsor has usually been able to determine the championship's sponsorship name. The list below details who the sponsors have been and what they called the competition:
- 1995–2007: Guinness (Guinness Leinster Championship)
- 2008–2009: RTÉ Sport, Etihad Airways, Guinness (GAA Leinster Hurling Championship)
- 2010–present: Centra, Etihad Airways, Guinness (GAA Leinster Hurling Championship)
Leinster Championship moments
- Dublin 3-5 : 2-2 Kilkenny (26 August 1934 at O'Moore Park) – In a replay characterised by close hurling, Dublin showed "a collective excellence". The game began with Kilkenny scooping the sliotar from the throw-in, and drove towards their forwards. J.A. Walsh intercepted, and set the ball flying wide from 80 yards out to Daniels, who drove to Muldowney, who passed to Hegarty. Hegarty flashed in a goal. Barely a minute later, Treacy pointed from 70 feet, and Hegarty scored another point. Excellent hurling ensued, the outstanding feature being the terrier tackling of Daniels and Wade. A free to Kilkenny gave Lowry Meagher his chance, but Forde saved miraculously. The danger to Dublin ensued, but it was averted by Bannon, Murphy, Walsh and McMahon. Larkin was the outstanding Kilkenny man. Tom Treacy pointed from a free for Dublin, this time scoring a major. Just before the interval O’Connell scored a point, leaving the score at Dublin 3-3 : Kilkenny Nil. Within five minutes of resuming play, Duggan scored a goal and Power a point. Dublin fought back and Wade and Muldowney each scored points. "Then a rare achievement was witnessed, when Lory Meagher scored a goal from a 70 yards puck". The scoring finished with a point by Meagher. Dublin showed superior speed, pertinacious tackling and a will-to-win spirit. The teams were: Dublin C. Forde, A. Murphy, J. Bannon, C. McMahon, James Andrew Walsh (hurler), D. Canniffe, P. Roche, E. Wade, Mick Daniels, S. Hegarty, T. Treacy, S. Muldowney, C. Boland, D. O’Neill, J. O’Connell. Kilkenny Jim Dermody, Paddy Larkin, P. O’Reilly, P. Kealy, Paddy Phelan, P. Byrne, T. Leahy, Lory Meagher, J. Duggan, Jimmy Walsh (Kilkenny hurler), Locky Byrne, M. Power, J. Fitzpatrick, M. Dunne, Matty Power. Referee Sean Robbins.
- Wexford 5–6 : 3–9 Kilkenny (31 July 1955 at Croke Park) – After a 2–7 apiece draw a fortnight earlier, both sides met in an historic replay. Wexford, the reigning provincial champions, were the favourites for both games, however, they had never beaten Kilkenny in a Leinster final. At half-time both sides were still level, however, immediately after the restart the key score came. Nicky Rackard gained possession sixty yards out and sent a speculative shot goalwards. The sliotar bounced on the hard Croke Park surface, hopped again, deceived the Kilkenny 'keeper and ended up just inside the white goal-line. Wexford later emerged victorious and broke the Kilkenny hoodoo.
- Offaly 3–17 : 5–10 Kilkenny (13 July 1980 at Croke Park) – Undoubtedley regarded as one of the most significant days in the history of Offaly hurling. Offaly were only appearing in their sixth Leinster final ever and were looking for their first success, while Kilkenny were looking for a third consecutive provincial title. After a high-scoring first-half, Kilkenny only had a 3–6 to 1–10 lead. The game really heated up in the final ten minutes as both sides swapped the lead several times. In the end, the Leinster final roll of honour had a new name as Offaly won the game by a point.
- Offaly 2–16 : 3–9 Kilkenny (26 June 1994 at Croke Park) – Regarded as one of the greatest games in the long history of the Leinster Championship. This provincial semi-final saw Kilkenny on the road to a fourth successive Leinster title, as well as a third consecutive All-Ireland title. The day belonged to Offaly, with Brian Whelehan putting in a great performance at right half-back which would later see him being named Hurler of the Year. The three Dooley brothers – Billy, Joe and Johnny – combined to score 2–10 of Offaly's total, giving 'the Faithful County' to impetus to go on and challenge for the Leinster title.
- Wexford 2–15 : 1–16 Kilkenny (13 June 2004 at Croke Park) – Kilkenny were the red-hot favourites coming into this provincial semi-final. They were on the trail of a record-breaking seventh consecutive Leinster title and a third consecutive All-Ireland title. The game was going Kilkenny's way until the very last puck of the game. Wexford had tested the champions but with time nearly up 'the Cats' still had a one-point lead. A Kilkenny clearance fell straight to Michael Jacob who made no mistake ins ending the sliotar into the net. With that the referee sounded the long whistle and Kilkenny's great run was at an end.
- Galway 2-21 : 2-11 Kilkenny (8 July 2012 at Croke Park) – Galway kept Kilkenny scoreless for twenty minutes in this Leinster Final. The half-time score was Galway 2-12 Kilkenny 0-4. Kilkenny rallied in the second half but were never able to come close to Galway who won their first ever Leinster title in the most unexpected of circumstances.
Performance by county
|County||Wins||Finals lost||Years won||Years runner-up|
|1||Kilkenny||69||29||1888, 1893, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1900, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1916, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014||1896, 1902, 1906, 1908, 1914, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1927, 1934, 1938, 1941, 1942, 1949, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1989, 1995, 1997, 2012|
|2||Dublin||24||35||1889, 1892, 1894, 1896, 1902, 1906, 1908, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1924, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1934, 1938, 1941, 1942, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1961, 2013||1888, 1893, 1895, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1918, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1932, 1933, 1939, 1940, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1954, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1990, 1991, 2009, 2011, 2014|
|3||Wexford||20||31||1890, 1891, 1899, 1901, 1910, 1918, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1996, 1997, 2004||1897, 1916, 1944, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008|
|4||Offaly||9||14||1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995||1901, 1924, 1926, 1928, 1969, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004|
|5||Laois||3||12||1914, 1915, 1949||1889, 1890, 1891, 1909, 1912, 1930, 1931, 1935, 1936, 1948, 1951, 1985|
Record Leinster medal winners
|Michael Kavanagh||Kilkenny||13||1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011|
|Henry Shefflin||Kilkenny||13||1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014|
|12||1922, 1923, 1925 1927, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1935 1936, 1937|
|Eddie Brennan||Kilkenny||11||2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011|
|D.J. Carey||Kilkenny||10||1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005|
|Eddie Keher||Kilkenny||10||1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975|
|Frank Cummins||Kilkenny||9||1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983|
|Phil 'Fan' Larkin||Kilkenny||9||1963, 1964, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979|
|Paddy Larkin||Kilkenny||9||1931, 1932, 1933, 1935 1936, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1943|
|Sim Walton||Kilkenny||9||1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1916|
|Jack Rochford||Kilkenny||9||1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1916|
List of Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Finals
A. ^ A goal outweighed any number of points until 1892. Points were only taken into consideration when the teams finished level on goals.
B. ^ Dublin received a walkover from Laois in the final. Louth were the only other team to participate.
C. ^ Goals were revalued to five points each. Dublin were unopposed in the championship.
D. ^ Dublin were unopposed in the championship.
E. ^ Goals were revalued to three points each. The final was replayed after Kilkenny launched an objection following the original match.
F. ^ Kilkenny were awarded the title as the Dublin goal was disputed.
G. ^ Dublin won the final; however, Kilkenny were awarded the title after launching an objection.
H. ^ The final was declared void after both teams were disqualified for being late on the field.
I. ^ All inter-county games were increased from sixty to eighty minutes.
J. ^ All inter-county games were reduced from eighty to seventy minutes.
- "Galway Board to investigate sale of Leinster winner's medal on eBay". RTÉ Sport. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- An Pobhlacht Special ed. 28 August 1934
- "LIVE: Galway v Kilkenny, Leinster SHC Final". The Journal. 8 July 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- An Phoblacht Special ed. 28 August 1934
- "Kilkenny empire rocked by king Canning". Irish Examiner. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "Another step up the ladder for dynamic Dubs". Irish Examiner. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- "Old order restored as Cats back on throne". Irish Examiner. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.