Opinion: Fixing the Gaelic Foo...

Football

Opinion: Fixing the Gaelic Football Championship is not rocket science


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There has been a lot of commentary and articles and debate about the Gaelic Football Championship structure in recent days.  It must be May.

This is straightforward, right?  No, really.

The provincial championships still hold currency.  In the new millennium, Westmeath have beaten Meath for the first ever time in the history of the Association.  Sligo won the Connacht title for the first time in 32 years.  Carlow shocked Kildare.  Fermanagh and Limerick went agonizingly close to making history.  Only 9 years ago, Louth should have won the Leinster title, were it not for a hugely controversial decision.  Antrim reached an Ulster final.  Tipperary beat Cork for the first time since 1944.  There are also burning rivalries that still rage, Cavan and Monaghan being an obvious one that springs to mind.  Why would anyone want those to disappear?

Do the preliminary competitions hold currency; the McGrath Cup, the O'Byrne Cup?  Not in my view.

Do the National Leagues hold currency?  They do for the competitiveness of the games and the ability for so called weaker counties to strive for silverware and promotion from Divisions 3 and 4 in particular.  It is a strong argument to say that Leitrim's Division 4 appearance at Croke Park had arguably more meaning than being comfortably defeated by Roscommon last weekend.  The 'con' to the argument is that no fans in Mayo will care that they are League champions if they lose the All Ireland Final yet again in September.

So why don't we flip it?

Have January, April, May, September, October, November and December set aside for the club game.  Seven months of the year.

Abolish preliminary competitions entirely.  Run the provincial championships off in February and March.

Then for June, July and part of August, run a League Championship in four tiers of 8 teams each.  Have promotion and relegation from year to year, so counties have a chance to progress.  This would mean we wouldn't lose the structural ability for teams to break through, as Armagh, Tyrone and Donegal have managed to do in the new millennium.

Stage the tier four final on the Friday night of All Ireland Final weekend, which would be on the second Sunday of September.

Stage the tier two and three finals on the same day, the Saturday of All Ireland Final weekend.

Stage the All Ireland Final, which would be contested between the top two teams in tier one, on the Sunday.

Hold a national holiday on the Monday.

There you go.  Simple.

 

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