National Hurling League
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|Allianz National Hurling League|
|Current season or competition:
2016 National Hurling League
|Irish||Sraith Iomána Náisiúnta|
|Trophy||Dr. Croke Cup|
|No. of teams||34 (2015)|
|Title holders||Clare (4th title)|
|Most titles||Tipperary (19 titles)|
|Official website||Official Website|
The National Hurling League is a league competition featuring amateur inter-county hurling teams from Ireland and England. Founded in 1925, it is regarded as the secondary inter-county hurling competition after the All-Ireland Championship. The National Hurling League has been associated with a title sponsor since 1985. As this sponsor has changed over the years the league too has been known by various names. After its title sponsors, the National Hurling League has formerly been known as the Ford National Hurling League, the Royal Liver National Hurling League and the Church & General National Hurling League. The competition is currently known as the Allianz Hurling League.
Currently it has 34 teams divided into six divisions, which are known as Divisions 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B. Six teams participate in the top five divisions with four teams contesting the bottom division. Promotion and relegation between these divisions is a central feature of the National Hurling League. Although primarily a competition for Irish inter-county teams, teams from England, London and Warwickshire, also take part, while in the past New York also fielded a team for the latter stages of the League.
The Gaelic Athletic Association organises the league, which begins in February and concludes in May, at which stage the league final is held. The prize for the winning Division 1A team is the Dr. Croke Cup. In some seasons, including 2012, the winner of Division 1B is allowed to compete in the knockout stages of the Division 1A title.
The Division 1 title has been won at least once by ten different teams, nine of which have won the title more than once. The all-time record-holders are Tipperary, who have won the competition 19 times. Clare are the current champions.
The NHL was first held in 1925–26, 38 years after the first All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, with Cork being the first winners. The League has traditionally played second fiddle to the All-Ireland, with most counties using it as a warm-up for the All-Ireland. This was not helped by the fact that the League was played in winter (November–March usually) while the championship had the more attractive summer dates and knockout structure.
34 teams play in the National Hurling League. There are six teams in the top five divisions, and four teams in Division 3B. Each team plays each other once, either home or away. 2 points are awarded for a win, and 1 for a draw. Where two teams are level on points, the team that won the head-to-head match is ranked ahead. If this game was a draw, points difference (total scored minus total conceded in all games) is used to rank the teams. Where three or more teams are level on points, points difference is used to rank them. Cavan and New York are the only teams not to contest in the National Hurling League.
- Division 1A: Top four teams qualify for NHL quarter-finals. Bottom two teams play a relegation play-off, with the losing team relegated to Division 1B.
- Division 1B: Top team promoted to 1A. Top four teams qualify for NHL quarter-finals. Bottom two teams play a relegation play-off, with the losing team playing a promotion-relegation match against the Division 2A champions.
- Division 2A: Top two teams play Division 2A final, with the winning team playing a promotion-relegation match against the loser of the Division 1B relegation play-off. Bottom team relegated to Division 2B.
- Division 2B: Top two teams play division final, with the winner being promoted. Bottom two teams play a relegation play-off, with the losing team playing a promotion-relegation match against the Division 3A champions.
- Division 3A: Top two teams play Division 3A final, with the winning team playing a promotion-relegation match against the loser of the Division 2B relegation play-off. Bottom team relegated to Division 3B.
- Division 3B: Top two teams play division final, with the winner being promoted.
Performance by county
|Tipperary||19||1927–28, 1948–49, 1949–50, 1951–52, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1967–68, 1978–79, 1987–88, 1993–94, 1999, 2001, 2008|
|Kilkenny||17||1932–33, 1961–62, 1965–66, 1975–76, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1985–86, 1989–90, 1994–95, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014|
|Cork||14||1925–26, 1929–30, 1939–40, 1940–41, 1947–48, 1952–53, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1973–74, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1992–93, 1998|
|Limerick||11||1933–34, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1946–47, 1970–71, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1991–92, 1997|
|Galway||9||1930–31, 1950–51, 1974–75, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1995–96, 2000, 2004, 2010|
|Wexford||4||1955–56, 1957–58, 1966–67, 1972–73|
|Clare||4||1945–46, 1976–77, 1977–78, 2016|
|Dublin||3||1928–29, 1938–39, 2011|
|Waterford||3||1962–63, 2007, 2015|
The top provinces by number of wins:
|Province||Wins||Last win||Top county|
|1||Munster||51||Clare, 2016||Tipperary (19)|
|2||Leinster||25||Kilkenny, 2014||Kilkenny (17)|
|3||Connacht||9||Galway, 2010||Galway (9)|
|2000||Meath||5-14 (29)||2-10 (16)||Carlow||Cusack Park||Paul Donnelly|
|2001||Kerry||4-14 (22)||3-10 (19)||Westmeath||Croke Park||Michael 'Boxer' Slattery|
|2002||Laois||1-20 (23)||2-14 (20)||Antrim||Semple Stadium||John Lyons|
|2003||Antrim||3-18 (27)||3-12 (21)||Kerry||Croke Park|
|2004||Down||5-15 (30)||3-7 (16)||Westmeath||Gaelic Grounds||Simon Wilson|
|2005||Offaly||6-21 (39)||4-7 (19)||Carlow||Semple Stadium||Barry Teehan|
|2006||Dublin||0-16 (16)||1-6 (9)||Kerry||Semple Stadium||Philip Brennan|
|2007||Laois||2-19 (25)||0-8 (8)||Wicklow||Semple Stadium||Joe FitzPatrick|
|2008||Westmeath||2-12 (18)||0-12 (12)||Carlow||Gaelic Grounds||Brendan Murtagh|
|2009||Offaly||1-13 (16)||0-13 (13)||Wexford||Semple Stadium||Ger Oakley|
|2010||Wexford||1-16 (19)||2-9 (15)||Clare||Semple Stadium||Diarmuid Lyng|
|2011||Limerick||4-12 (24)||2-13 (19)||Clare||Cusack Park||Gavin O'Mahony|
|2012||Clare||0-21 (21)||1-16 (19)||Limerick||Gaelic Grounds||Patrick Donnellan|
|2013||Dublin||1-16 (19)||1-15 (18)||Limerick||Semple Stadium||John McCaffrey|
|1981||Mayo||2-13 (19)||1-7 (10)||Louth|
|1982||Derry||1-10 (13)||4-6 (18)||Monaghan|
|2000||Louth||0-16 (16)||1-11 (14)||Longford||Cusack Park|
|2001||Donegal||3-13 (22)||2-10 (16)||Fermanagh|
|2002||Longford||1-12 (15)||0-12 (12)||Louth||Páirc Tailteann|
|2003||Mayo||2-11 (17)||2-6 (12)||Sligo||MacHale Park|
|2004||Sligo||3-12 (21)||1-8 (11)||Tyrone||Ballyshannon|
|2005||Mayo||1-14 (17)||2-10 (16)||Donegal||Markievicz Park|
|2006||Armagh||3-10 (19)||1-11 (14)||Longford||Kingspan Breffni Park|
|2007||Roscommon||1-13 (16)||0-15 (15)||Sligo||Kingspan Breffni Park||Mervyn Connaughton|
|2008||Louth||1-16 (19)||0-11 (11)||Donegal||Rooskey||David Dunne|
|2009||Kildare||2-18 (24)||1-18 (21)||Meath||Kingspan Breffni Park||Oisin Lynch|
|2010||Kerry||2-18 (24)||1-15 (18)||Derry||Pádraig Pearse's||Shane Brick|
|2011||Wicklow||2-20 (26)||3-14 (23)||Derry||Pearse Park||Jonathan 'Bosco' O'Neill|
|2009||London||2-19 (25)||2-13 (19)||Roscommon||Dr. Hyde Park|
|2010||Wicklow||3-18 (27)||2-9 (15)||Louth||Parnell Park|
|2011||Roscommon||0-17 (17)||1-12 (15)||Mayo||Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada||Shane Curley|
|2012||Fermanagh||2-15 (21)||2-5 (11)||Warwickshire||Parnell Park||Karl Kehoe|
|2013||Longford||1-8 (11)||0-9 (9)||Sligo||Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada|
|2014||Tyrone||0-13 (13)||1-9 (12)||Leitrim||Markievicz Park|
|Monaghan||St. Loman's, Mullingar
|2008||Monaghan||1-27 (30)||5-14 (29)||South Down||Kingspan Breffni Park|
|2009||Sligo||1-13 (16)||2-8 (14)||Monaghan||Kingspan Breffni Park||Colin Herity|
|2010||Monaghan||1-18 (21)||1-10 (13)||Longford||Kingspan Breffni Park||Brian McGuigan|
|2011||Tyrone||1-15 (18)||0-11 (11)||South Down||Athletic Grounds||Seán Paul Begley|
Players with most league wins
|1||John Doyle||Tipperary||1948-1967||10||1949-50, 1951-52, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1956-57, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1960-61, 1963-64, 1964-65|
|2||Michael Maher||Tipperary||1951-1966||8||1951-52, 1954-55, 1956-57, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1960-61, 1963-64, 1964-65|
|J. J. Delaney||Kilkenny||2001-2014||8||2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014|
|4||Mickey Byrne||Tipperary||1945-1960||7||1948-49, 1949-50, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1956-57, 1958-59, 1959-60|
Since 1985, the National Hurling League has had title sponsorship rights sold to several companies.
- 1985–1987: Ford (Ford National Hurling League)
- 1987–1993: Royal Liver (Royal Liver National Hurling League)
- 1993–1999: Church & General (Church & General National Hurling League)
- 1999–present: Allianz (Allianz Hurling League)
Setanta Sports broadcasts live matches in Australia. Setanta Sports also provides matches from the National Hurling League in Asia. In Ireland TG4 shows live matches each week on Sunday afternoon, with deferred coverage of a second match shown straight after. Setanta Sports broadcasts matces live on the Saturday evening slot. Highlights for all the games are shown at 7:00pm on League Sunday on RTÉ2.
- "2015 fixtures: Opening trips for Tipp and Kilkenny". RTÉ. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015.