County Board chairman Michael Bourke pictured presenting the Dan Breen Cup to Thurles Sarsfields captain Pádraic Maher.
The eagerly-anticipated draw for the group stages of the 2017 Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship is scheduled to take place live on Tipp FM on Monday, January 23rd - the draw with be broadcast live on the ‘Extra Time’ show (7-8pm) next week which is hosted by presenter Ronan Quirke.
Thurles Sarsfields are, of course, chasing a fourth consecutive county title in 2017 and have already been installed as favourites to collect a 36th Dan Breen Cup.
The structure of the 2017 Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship is as follows: the competition is divided into two tiers, Roinn I and Roinn II.
In Roinn I the 16 participating teams are divided into four seeded groups with each side playing each group member.
Following three rounds of games each group winner qualifies for the county quarter-finals while each group runner-up battles it out with the divisional champions in the preliminary quarter-finals. The last placed teams in each group play-off in two games with the individual game losers demoted to Roinn II for 2018.
Thirteen teams in all will compete in Roinn II in 2017. There is, however, a significant change to the format of Roinn II for the coming season. The teams, similarly to Roinn I, will be divided into four groups with the group winners and runners-up progressing to the quarter-finals of the Ó Riain Cup. The winner of that round of games qualifies for the semi-finals of the Ó Riain Cup while both finalists are promoted to Roinn I for 2018.
The only way for Roinn II teams to compete for the Dan Breen Cup in 2017 is by winning their respective divisional championship and thereby qualify for a preliminary quarter-final against a second-placed team from a Roinn I group with a place in the outright quarter-finals up for grabs.
The seedings for 2017 senior club hurling championship draw are based on the finishing position of each club following the group stage of the 2016 senior hurling championship.
Therefore the Roinn I seedings are as follows:-
One: Killenaule, Thurles Sarsfields, Kiladangan & Clonoulty-Rossmore.
Two: Drom & Inch, Borris-Ileigh, Mullinahone & Kilruane.
Three: Upperchurch-Drombane, Éire Óg Annacarty, Nenagh Éire Óg & Portroe.
Four: Burgess, Carrick Swans, Loughmore-Castleiney & Ballina.
Each group will feature a team from each seeding category i.e. the draw, for instance, could pit Thurles Sarsfields, Drom & Inch, Upperchurch-Drombane and Loughmore-Castleiney against one another.
The Roinn II seedings are as follows:-
One: JK Bracken’s, Roscrea, Templederry & Lorrha.
Two: Holycross-Ballycahill, Moycarkey-Borris, Borrisokane & Ballingarry.
Three & Four: Toomevara, Clonakenny, Knockavilla Kickhams, Silvermines & Newport.
Similarly to Roinn I each group will feature a team from each seeding category.