After another weekend of championship hurling at its best, the conversation has again turned to the problems with the Football Championship in its current format and its failure to maintain a spectacle throughout the summer.
Speaking on an OTB AM Shot Clock Special, Kieran Donaghy had strong criticisms of the current lack of excitement surrounding the majority of games in the Provincial Championships in particular.
“We have no games to look forward to in the summer”, Donaghy proclaimed.
“We had one last week up in Breffni Park, but, yeah you're looking at Munster and you're looking at Leinster and it’s pointless. Yeah, Ulster is up for debate every year which is good. In Connacht, Mayo win 6 in-a-row and then Galway have come back with an answer but yeah it's usually those two.”
“When you look at the Hurling Championship and how exciting it is and how much you want to watch all the games every week and your kind of sitting there as a football fan thinking it's time to move on. Why can't we have a bit of that?”
Donaghy made the point that the National Football League is providing compelling games but that the winter weather is affecting public engagement. If Championship Football was able to channel the League and have a consistent line-up of entertaining games it would benefit both players and spectators according to Donaghy.
“Why can't we have all those good games in the summer where people can throw the kids in the car and enjoy the games?”, Donaghy asked. “I think the attendances would go through the roof if the sun was splitting the stones and you were going to games in midsummer.”
“It’s hurling summer so why don't the GAA football try and replicate that some way. Have a complete extravaganza in both sports each weekend where people have good choices of games that they want to watch”
“Fellas will get sick of putting in the commitment in counties that are only gonna get one provincial game get knocked out, one qualifier game get knocked out. And we already see it fellas are jetting to America not wanting to play and it's often the counties’ best players going abroad.
“So, if you're a kid and you see your favourite player get knocked out in the provincial and then you wait four weeks for the qualifier and he's not even there because he's signed for some team in Boston.”
On a Shot Clock Special on Wednesday’s OTB AM Donaghy made the case for an entirely new Football Championship that would be tiered and provide all counties with at least seven Championship games as well as the opportunity for lower counties to win silverware through a tier two All-Ireland.