The Director-General of the GAA, Paraic Duffy, has suggested that there will be no relegation from the Liam McCarthy Cup this year, but that the winners of the lower-tier competitions will be promoted.
Duffy said that a Special Congress will have to be convened in early October to settle the hurling promotion-relegation issue. The loser of the Antrim and Wexford final is currently set to be demoted to Christy Ring Cup hurling next term.
‘The DRA said they want Carlow in the McCarthy Cup,’ Duffy told the Irish Examiner.
‘They also said that 13 teams shouldn't be a problem. It's up to us to fix that and I'm pretty confident that we'll be able to fix it and that no one will be relegated. Nobody wants to see Antrim or Wexford go down so I think it will be possible. We're working on various proposals at the moment.’
Duffy also revealed that he is satisfied with the new Croke Park surface and confessed that Hill 16 probably should have been opened to supporters for last Sunday's All-Ireland football quarter-finals, but that the GAA had been burned financially by opening the terrace previously.
‘To be honest, the ticket sales for last Sunday were actually quite slow at the beginning of the week. I suppose in hindsight if we realised we were going to get 50,000 we probably would have opened it. The problem with the Hill is once you open the Hill there's an immediate cost. It's very expensive to open it.
‘The one point I'd make is that it's very expensive to pay €35 as the minimum price but there are so many packages out there that people can buy now that a lot of people don't pay the full price.’
He added: ‘If someone had said to us back in January and February that our attendances would actually rise, you'd have said that wasn't possible. Ticket sales are good for next Sunday and I think we are going to be on target for the end of the Championship.’