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Mickey Quinn: The Championship needs to become tiered

Longford footballer Mickey Quinn has become the latest voice to join the growing chorus of GAA st...


Mickey Quinn: The Championship needs to become tiered

Longford footballer Mickey Quinn has become the latest voice to join the growing chorus of GAA stakeholders calling for a tiered Championship.

Quinn was on Tuesday’s OTB AM to talk about the Leinster Championship from the view of one of the smaller counties in the province.

Quinn revealed that he has been in favour of a change in the Championship for years and that heavy losses to Dublin were demoralising other counties. For example, Quinn noted that Longford’s 27 point loss to the Dubs in 2015 was the lowest moment of his own intercounty career.

“You’re trying to get guys to commit and, y’know, what's the carrot at the end of the stick for guys to commit when you have the Leinster Championship the way it is?" Quinn asked.

"Guys probably are at the stage where they are like: ‘why set yourself up for that failure as such', rather than: ‘I want to compete against the best.’”

Smaller counties such as Longford are also suffering because of the rule that prevents players from playing inter-county football if they are planning on playing abroad that summer too. For example, Longford’s Darren Gallagher has been at most of the side’s matches but hasn’t been allowed to play as he is hoping to play senior football in New York this summer.

“It probably shoots the likes of us in the foot that we can't have him available for those games and if we did we maybe could have pushed on and pipped Kildare and hit that target of 5 [Championship] games,” Quinn said.

One key characteristic of a new championship structure, Quinn said, should be the chance for progression for smaller counties rather than bowing out every year at the same stages and then starting from scratch the next season.

“From one year to the next if management teams change, full backroom teams change and then [sponsors], the whole lot.”

“That causes its own problems to try and build again from scratch, whereas if it's a long process that you can build on and work towards something lads might be more inclined to buy in. But with the Leinster championship the way it is it's very difficult for lads to say right we are going to give this a crack for whatever number of years and see what happens.”

However, while Quinn wants a change to the structure he does not agree with calls from former Kildare captain Eamonn Callaghan for a boycott of the Leinster Championship until that happens.

If there was to be militant action against the GAA that could lead to a quick fix which, Quinn argues, is not the answer to the larger problem at hand.

Quinn added that a tiered set up like the League could help revitalise the dwindling stature of the Championship.

“I do think something needs to change and year in year out it's getting stronger. I’d be for some sort of a tiered championship in some shape or form. The only issue with the league is it's played in shit conditions. To have that in these kinds of months when the weather is good and teams are close together you are going to have a good atmosphere.”

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All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Leinster Senior Football Championship Longford GAA Mickey Quinn Tiered Championship