Championship restructure proposals look good


Photo: The 42

It’s difficult, I know, to think about anything else but Saturday at the minute but the GAA’s proposals, which were announced earlier on today and are here, to restructure the football championship are interesting. From an initial scan of them they look good and would certainly be an improvement on the current set-up.

Under the proposals the provincial championships would remain in place, not one suspects because they should but because there’s no point trying to face down the all-powerful provincial councils. Instead the revamp comes at what we now call the All-Ireland series.

The current All-Ireland quarter-final round would go and would instead be replaced by a round-robin “Champions League” arrangement. This would involve two groups of four, comprising two provincial champions and two Round 4 qualifier winners, with the top two from each group going forward to the All-Ireland semi-finals. It’s proposed that both penultimate round ties would then be played on the same weekend.

The proposed revamp would mean three All-Ireland series games instead of one to get to an All-Ireland semi-final and the proposal is that one round would be played at Croke Park with counties then playing home and away after that. This means big games at provincial venues at the height of summer, which has to be a good idea. It would also mean that Dublin will have to hit the road too, the poor dears.

Based on a quick initial reading of what’s being proposed, I see a few issues with the plans that have been put forward. One relates to the tie-breakers (in the event that counties end on the same number of points after the round-robin games), the first of which to apply is the head-to-head record. This isn’t a fair method, given that it will inevitably lead to situations where a team winning a home match will prevail against a county playing away. Points difference over the three games would seem a fairer way of separating teams tied on points.

A second problem I’d have relates to how it’ll actually copper-fasten Dublin’s unfair advantage in playing at Croke Park. Under the proposals, they’d be guaranteed two out of the three matches at HQ while the great unwashed would only get one each. Getting the Dubs on the road would be good but the aim should be to get them on the road properly like everyone else.

These are only proposals and a two-thirds majority at Congress will be needed to make the changes happen. I’d say there’s undoubtedly some appetite for change within the organisation but whether or not it’s sufficient to see these proposals being implemented is another day’s work.

44 thoughts on “Championship restructure proposals look good

  1. Ah, I’ll accept that it’s good they’re looking to change things up.
    It’d be interesting if not good for the likes of Mayo. But for the weaker teams, it makes no difference. Most of them could still be out after two games. It’s not a bad starting point but they need to expand on it.

  2. So the likes of Leitrim, Carlow and Wicklow being totally ignored under the new plan.
    An Ulster ALL Ireland finalist could now play 9 games while the minnows will only get to play 2 games.
    Great for Mayo and the like but why would the weaker counties even bother ? Totally unfair. The GAA will do anything to retain the irrelevant provincial championships.
    There must be some powerful men on the provincial councils.

    Top 16 teams compete for Sam with the bottom 16 competing for another title. 4 Promoted and 4 relegated each year. Simple as that.

  3. Facetheball, I would have agreed with your previously but I reject that now. Tipp would not be in an All Ireland Semi Final under that structure.

    I think it’s simple, you can still split the champ in 2.

    Groups of 4, home and away, 6 games. Top 2 in group into the knockouts, top teams get home advantage for last 16

    Bottom 2 from each group into “B” Championship, or whatever, with 3rd place team getting home advantage.

    Minimum 7 games each.


  4. That would work also MayoMark.
    Who exactly in the GAA is in favour of retaining the provincials ?
    If the players, managers and supporters are not, then who is ?

  5. The councils are and the majority of their members. Any proposal to scrap provincial championships will be shot down. At least this has a realistic chance of being passed

  6. MayoMark, yes that would be the ideal structure, fair, each team plays the same number of games, same number home and away.

    Whats proposed is not ideal, will suit the strong teams and make it even harder for the weaker to break through. However something has to change as the present structure is a joke, if this proposal is a stepping stone to a fair structure then I for it, hope it doesnt end at that though or this conversation will run for years. The stumbling block is the provincial councils, they dont want to given up power, until croke park can sort out these geriatrics and drag them into the present the structure will always be unbalanced.

  7. Groups stages were tried at the latter stages of tournaments like the Champions League and World Cup and scrapped. It just seems to be extra matches for the sake of extra matches, and is possibly an Irish solution to an Irish problem.

  8. It doesn’t surprise me that a top tier county like Mayo would welcome the new structure. There is little doubt it will be the death knell for weaker and even mediocre counties.

    What the game needs to progress is not more games at a competitive levels for the super powers – which is what this represents – it needs more games against stronger opposition for the smaller counties. If you are going to do round robins it should be for the Leitrims, Sligos, Fermanaghs, Limericks, Longfords, Antrims etc. etc. Instead these teams, with the odd exception, will disappear from teh championship in early June. Meanwhile Mayo, Kerry, Tyrone, Dublin will be blooding players in the heat of top tier championship matches 3 weeks on the run before 4 of those teams go on again to an all ireland semi-final. This is about TV rights not improving the lot of all counties or benefiting the game across all counties and their county players.

    I think it is a shambolic proposal aimed at maintaining the status of the old guard. The mouth watering prospect for fans of those counties will be diametrically opposed to the despair felt by the weakter teams whose fans get to become armchair viewers of other teams rather than going to see their own – trying to improve by playing more games against better opposition. The dice is loaded already because of our league system – this will only exacerbate the situation.

  9. i’m fuming over this. Take a young player like Evan Reagan arriving on the scene in 2018 – Mayo qualify for the last 8. Evan is thereafter guaranteed 3 and good chance of 4 more matches against better opposition – meanwhile Evan dopple ganger in Carlow, is already over in America for the summer or working his summer job preparing for the club championship. Which player do you think is going to improve more over the next 1, 2, 3 years with exactly the same potential.

    On the other hand you run world cup style group matches for all counties from the outset. Evan in carlow knows he is getting minimum 3 championship matches – he knows he is going to play and learn against teams better than his own. Sure he might not go as far as Evan from Mayo anyway – but at least he gets a fighting chance of getting better and having a real championship run to look forward to the following year. The commitment thats required at county level nowadays needs the carrot of guaranteed championship games – the back door at least has gone some way to doing that but its not enough. It is very easy to motivate players that know their county is going to be in the last 8 round robin to commit for the year.

    ahh…….i’m too disgusted to say anymore…

  10. The beauty of a group stage with home and away as proposed above is:

    – Everyone gets a crack at Sam
    – There is another opportunity for Croke Park All-Ireland glory for one of the weaker teams
    – Far more guaranteed Championship games ALL over the country
    – Starting in mid May, All teams play their games over the course of the same weekend. No waiting months and weeks for games.
    – Certainty of dates means Club Championship can be properly planned

  11. Haven’t really had a chance go over it but the obvious issue would be that under this you can now lose 3 matches in the Championship and win Sam. 2 points can be enough to qualify in a 4 team group if one team gets 6 and the others beat each other. Also it’s going to lead to dead rubber matches and the thorny issue of a team topping the group after two matches and playing a weak team for the 3rd allowing someone else qualify (see Italy in our Euros group this year). It’d work better if top two teams made final but no way they’ll get rid of semis

    The good thing is it ensures all teams are “tested” before AI semis and it’s much harder now to “fluke” an All Ireland

    I can’t see it being passed though

    Home and away quarter and semi two-legged affairs would be epic but no way they can take that many matches out of Croker

  12. We currently have a system that says to weaker counties – we will give you a second crack, often in six days time but that will be your lot. Alongside that we will now be saying to stronger counties – you can have a second, third and maybe even 4th crack and still win an all ireland.

    When is people going to figure out that weaker teams only get better by playing better teams and playing them more often. The 8 Division 1 teams get 7 top class matches before the championship starts in the form of the league. Meanwhile next year Westmeath will warm up for the championship with league matches against waterford and London…and their first outing could be against Dublin in Leinster….how the hell do you expect them to get better. The league structure has lead to self fulfilling outcomes in the championship and this is set to worsen that situation.

    If Westmeaths winter was playing Tyrone, Dublin and Kerry and Mayos were playing london, waterford and leitrim in preparatoin for championship would anyone venture the outcome would have been different last Saturday?

  13. Cantini yer right! And when they’re finished paddling around they can apply
    their brains to the actual state of the game and remove some of the pukey stuff that’s been allowed to crawl in lately!

  14. Cantini, I do agree with you regarding the proposed structure there will never be a totally fair competition until the provincial championships are removed from the All Ireland. The All ireland needs to be a stand alone competition. The structure MayoMark outlined is the most ideal, same number of games, same number of home fixtures, dedicated intercounty weekends so Club fixtures can be played in summer not in the depths of winter. MayoMark, you could also seed teams on their final league positions, this would give greater importance to the league and ensure at least one div 1 side in each group which would give weaker counties good games.

    Cantini, I would disagree with you regarding the league. I think its the best structured competition we have, its just a pity its not taken more seriously. The league does help weaker counties if they decide to develop there teams through it. This is proven by the improvements in Ros, Clare, Tip, Monaghan. Gaining promotion in the league exposes teams to a higher standard for them to build on. Only if they take it seriously and not just work towards that one big game in June.

  15. Mayo Mark is on the money here.

    Yeah, it’s great that the GAA are looking to make changes, but the cynic in me says they are now starting to panic in the face of dipping attendances and know they need to do something quickly. And I’m not even remotely surprised that they have essentially chosen to ignore weaker counties, instead preferring to focus on the greater revenue-earning potential that will come from having the stronger counties playing more games.

    There were fairer proposals last year – including the GPA’s, that didn’t even make it as far as Congress if I recall correctly – that would result in a more equitable structure, but of course, the GAA has to present their own half-baked proposal to try to both keep the coffers full and the provincial councils happy.

    This doesn’t cut it. They need to either shit or get off the pot (if you’ll pardon the crudity of expression) and either do it right or don’t bother at all.

    Ditch the provincials, take what’s great about the league – regular, scheduled games against evenly matched teams – and transfer it to the revised Championship structure. I would argue that in a properly revised and fair championship structure, there should be no need for a league – this is an amateur sport after all and the provincial league competitions should meet the need for pre-season competitions.

  16. Mayomad

    The league would be fine if it was our primary competition. Its not, its our secondary competition.

    In it you play 7 matches against teams at your own or similar level. You go from that into a championship – the main competition – against teams well above your level – those same teams have had their 7 games against teams at a much higher level than you – whats the probable outcome? has your league structure done anything to level the playing field for your main competition? no, in fact it has done the opposite, it has tilted the outcome in the stronger teams favour.

    Real GAA fans are agreed the championship is dead if weaker counties aren’t in the main competition. There is growing concern expressed about the gap widening between the weaker and stronger counties – but in truth how the hell could it go any other way given our league structure. The new proposal on quarter finals will add fuel to the gap fire.

    As a Sligo man its not that enticing to hit Markevicks on a wet February sunday to watch longford. How much do you think it entices the talented you player who is on the margins of playing or not playing county football – the guy with other options in his life. Do i want to be togging out in front of 3 or 4 hundred people to play Longford (no disrespect to them, meeting Sligo holds the same joy for them). He drops out, plays soccer, plays rugby, goes on the piss instead whatever. Now consider it is Kerry or Dublin or Mayo on the at wet Sunday – and there are 3 or 4 thousand there. He learns against these teams too, gets better as does his team mates – he’ll be meeting the likes of these teams in the championship and he has now less reason to fear them. He will also have his games against the longfords (in a seeded group league system) that means he isn’t experiencing 10-15 points defeats every round

    We simply can’t have the secondary competition – where 70-80% of all your competitive games are played keeping teams seperated based on status/standing and then thrust those teams together for the main event and thereafter question why the gap is widening between the weak and strong – the answer is so bloody obvious!!!

  17. you know what its not even philosophical or arguable….its just basic logic bordering on pure mathematics.

  18. Brilliant idea. Bring it on. The weaker county argument is gettin a bit stupid now for crikeys sake . Eight out of 32 get to the group stage , its a very fair comp for the most part. I hope this gets through, we need this.

  19. So it does not matter about the Leitrims, Wicklows or Carlows of this world Sean ?
    Lucky you are are from Mayo then.

  20. What do you want to do , give some of them a handicap start. I just dont get it , every sport has Kerry and dublins . Its called life.

  21. Cantini, yes one champions league type structure as outlined by MayoMark would be ideal but its not there and due to the power of the provincial councils will never be there, the league is as close as we will get.

    We will have to agree to disagree on the league. My point regarding the league is that teams can in fact improve through it. Can a div 4 side not put the proper structures in place at underage like Tip has, Get promoted, already they are playing a higher standard in div 3. Repeat the process get promoted again. Div 1 is not a closed party, 25 percent get relegated each year. Within three years a div 4 side can make Div 1 where they will get exposure to the top sides. Roscommon did actually that and are now getting the big games. Similarly Clare got promoted this year and will play at a higher standard, you will see Tip developing over the next few years and I would expect them to reach Div 1 in the not too distant future.

    Sometimes I get the feeling these weaker sides are looking for someone else to fix the championship for them, looking for the easy fix. There is no quick fix, its bloody hard work. Put the proper structures in place, develop the players, work at getting promoted thats how you get to play better teams on a regular basis. Counties cant sit around and hope that the GAA will fix the copmetition to remove inequality, there is always going to be good and bad teams. Counties need to go and do it for themselves, put the work in and the rewards will come.

  22. This is a good idea and a right move…jesus its a hell of a lot better than what we have now. Yes itll make it very difficult for weaker counties to make a semi final but so what? Hardly any point winning a one off game and then getting hammered in a semi final. If they’re good enough they’re good enough.

    They’ll never be a situation in the GAA where you see a revolution, it’ll always be evolution and this is a good step towards abolition of the provincials. I hear all the time about the champions league format…it won’t work nobody is going to pay in to see Roscommon v Carlow etc there would be a fall off in attendances.

    This brings quarters finals to home venues around the country…in many ways its what the original quarter finals should have been…if provincial winners had dome advantage it would have made a big difference. Also the introduction of A/B pairings and the abolition of the quarter final weekend of eroded the popularity of the current system

  23. I’ve not looked at this in any great detail however it does look like the weaker counties are unlikely to make it to the last 8 – that’s no different to how things are now unless they get a lucky draw and run in their own Province.
    I have to agree with Sean Burke here – I don’t see what it is you can do help the weaker counties other than give them over half of all funding like a certain county already receives. There have always been and always will be weaker counties. It’s unfortunate for Leitrim, Carlow and others but what hope would they have in a Champions League style format other than getting beaten out the gate by a county from the other side of the Country rather than their own province?. At least in the league they have a chance of playing similar opposition rather than being picked apart by the more successful counties.

    You can talk to any Sligo man and they certainly cherished their 2007 title, and Leitrim do fondly remember their 1994 one. I’m sure Roscommon dearly cherish their 2010 one, that one which I hope is their last one for a very long time, and that Leitrim, Sligo, London, New York, Galway and ourselves (many, many times) all get to lift the Nestor Cup before Roscommon do again, but that’s a horse of a different colour and betrays my general dislike of Roscommon having any success in Connacht shining through.

    To put it into perspective – given we’ve not won Sam since 1951, what would we have other than the odd League title and a good scattering of Connacht titles?.

    At least this proposal retains the Provincials – and in my view, they are certainly worth retaining.

  24. There is a need to look at structures, I think the qualifiers since they came in brought some good things. Tipperary played Derry in Breffine Park, Great Game, Great Skills, No Blanket Defence, High Scoring, Result in doubt up to the last minute. Unfortunately less than 3,000 people turned out to see it. To make the game more attractive to the public, I think it’s time the GAA made some rule changes, These changes are what I would like to see. Allow players to touch the ball on the ground, it happens in Ladies football, it speeds up the game, makes it more seamless. Kickout must go beyond the 45 meter line, and a Mark to be awarded in the event of a clean fielding…. Something else that needs changing, and I don’t think you can write a rule for it, is inconsistent Reffing,. Last week Rory Hickey drove me mad with his constant ‘Whistling’, don’t think half what he blew for was a free at all. I had a headache with him I was so frustrated by the end of the match… It’s true the game has not been great recently, it’s easy to see why the general /players and potential players public are not enthusiastic.. Too many televised matchs have been, one way slaughter fests. Mostly Dublin and V some other Leinster ‘minnow or has been. ‘ But why have Dublin only have play just once in 10 years outside of the Croke Park???. And on that day once every 10 years, why oh why did Laois have also to play away from home, in Nolan Park Kilrenny?? especially when Laois have a very fine home ground’ O Moore Park ‘.The Laois fans did not turn up in numbers for the match fixture and a section of the ground was empty!. The GAA as it stands is overly beauratic,. Certain people /county’s have to be pleased more than others I think I’d ask the Ladies Gaelic-football association for advice, there seems to less egos to be massaged, and allot more common sense. Just look at the way the Ladies Gaelic-football association handle, suspension’s, when you’re suspended, you’re suspended, if you lcompare to the farcical Diarmuid Connolly situation last year. Gaelic-football can and should be a distant great to sport to participate in and support. Time for those running the association to wake up and down smell the coffee!

  25. Mayomad, you make a good point as regards counties needing to stand up and do it for themselves, and you’re absolutely right.

    I have great respect for counties who are working hard to put the systems and structures in place themselves to make things happen – in fact our neighbours in Roscommon are a prime example of a county with a plan, even if it hasn’t come to fruition just yet. Kerry are the masters of this. Counties do have to accept a certain amount of responsibility in shaping their own destinies.

    But you must also remember that we have reached a tipping point, and we are are not operating on a level playing field any more. Counties who are in a good position now can leverage this to attract higher sponsorship, for instance – with no sponsorship cap in existence. The GAA themselves plough a disproportionately higher amount of funding into better performing counties – with one very obvious example.

    The gap has now arguably become insurmountable and the incentive very small, unless counties (a) start getting access to more regular competitive action and (b) some sort of financial equalisation is implemented.

  26. I agree that this is a good idea.. I wish a structure could be put in place that would improve the lot of lower populated counties but there just simply isn’t one (you can’t increase the number of clubs they have to choose from by the click of your fingers and that’s the mathematics that no one can get around, it’s no one’s fault, it’s just the way it is). The league is an excellent competition which gives teams an opportunity to improve through the grades (should they wish to do so) year on year. Westmeath it could be argued largely ignore the league and perform better in the Championship.. the opposite could be said of Roscommon but ultimately it will be the efforts of the counties themselves that determine where there season starts and finishes and not the structures themselves. The more top quality games played at the right time of year is the right way to go.

  27. Anne-Marie, every so called weaker county chairman should be heading straight for Tipperary looking at what they are at. The correct structures at underage, good coaching has resulted in a minor AI, a U21 final apperance and now Senior AI semi final. This is made all the more inpressive as they are a county overwhelmingly dominated by another code and the footballers are operating on a fraction if the funding the hurlers are. If I were from these counties I would be asking what are the county board at. Similarly I wounder what are the likes of, Meath, Kildare, offaly, Derry and now Cork at. Football should be in a much stronger position than it is and its not necessarily the championship structure thats at fault.

    You bring up an interesting factor on funding which also cant be ignored. Personnally I believe that in an amateur sport no one side should hold a financial advantage over another. There needs to be a cap placed on the amounts that can be spent on senior teams. Also there needs to be a cap on the amount any one county can generate in sponsorship. The surplus should be divided equally between att counties for youth development only. This would need tobe policed and every penny accountef for.

  28. But with group stages you win the first game and no one is celebrating at the end of the game.
    Who will travel in big numbers to watch group games?
    How to prevent battles for second place being unfair due to the weakest team already being out? If your county played said weakest team when their morale was higher the game would be tighter.
    Whats yer pub talk after winning the first group game? Luke warm. Group games can never feel anything like championship. Attendances would collapse as a result. The excitement of do or die is massively important for attendances.

  29. Play out the provincials in March and April. Then the champions league structure of 8 groups of 4 played out from May to August. Scrape the league. It’s an amateur sport we don’t need 3 competitons.

  30. You’d actually think that the simplest thing to do would be to make the League the primary competition but make it a proper league i.e. 14 games in total, 7 home and 7 away games involving 8 teams in a Division, like it is at the moment.

    This would guarantee each county 7 home games as well. The top team in Division 1 would then be the best team in Ireland. These games would be played throughout the season. Scrap the FBD leagues etc. and the provincials. You could still declare the highest ranked county from each province as the provincial champions, i.e. if Cork finished second in Division 1 behind Dublin, Cork would be Munster champions and Dublin would be Leinster champions etc.

    You could then create a separate new cup competition with all counties involved in an open draw, like the FA Cup competition. The first team drawn out of the hat would have home advantage. These cup games could be played during the season in between weekend gaps in the League season. A weaker county could still go on a long run in this competition if the draw is kind to them etc.

    The season would be pretty much like every other sport is run, the league as your primary competition with the cup competition as the secondary competition. Its probably the fairest system and would lead to the most competitive games throughout the whole season for every county.

  31. Bit off topic but does anybody know where i can watch the full match or highlights of Mayo V Tyrone from the 2013 semi? can’t find it on youtube

  32. Fair play to Tipperary whatever they are doing down there it’s working if we manage to beat Tyrone and please God we will we need to climb a few trees in Thurles and see what the skinny is

  33. Niallmc, would agree, provincial early in the year with champions league style championship may to august. Dedicated club weekends and a defined off season. No need for FBD and the like.

    HSE, in principal sounds ok but regardless of a teams standard all counties need to be in the championship fighting for Sam at the start. I cant see any structure working if it excludes any side from the chance no matter how slight of playing for Sam. Thats what its all about after all.

  34. I think a handicap system would put some fun back into it, not one that gives weaker teams a head start but one where the weaker teams goals and points are worth more.
    Imagine the likes of Dublin playing Carlow and Carlows scores worth double.
    I also think that the lower league winners are given a generous promotion payment, to be used to improve players welfare and facilities.
    As stated by many above there is only so much that can be done for counties that have few clubs but incentives should be made available for those that try hardest. Success will increase interest and crowds.
    When I think of ourselves and most of the top teams, I find us at a huge disadvantage to the likes of Dublin, in terms of funding and population—but for the great support, our 50+ clubs and the generosity of our supporters we would be in a tough spot aswell.
    Then you have the enigma that is Cork with 300+ clubs and adequate funds Id imagine, the support seems indifferent but then it’s a dual county with football secondary to hurling.
    Leinster is the biggest problem, eleven footballing counties with one superior to all the rest and no solution in sight that can remedy this.
    Ulster is pretty well balanced, Munster had 4 teams in the last stage of the qualifiers and two left in the semis.
    Our own province has four teams that can compete with Leitrim,London and NY being the ones that need the incentive.

  35. Champions league format is thrown around a lot as a phrase. For me the current championship now and then (if it was a Restaurant) serves up some of the best steak you will ever eat. Then the odd tough steak. But generally respectable steak.
    With champions league format steak is off the menu for most of the year.
    Bolognese, Shepherds pie, meatballs, burgers. Once you’ve sampled top class steak various dressings up of mince are just not going to get you to travel far or to pay much to sample. But you’ll go out of your way in the knowledge that now and then you can get great occasions combined with great steak. You’re certainly guaranteed the occasion as both sets of supporters have the same giddy optimism.
    Champions league is palatable but devoid of passion.
    “We’ve just won our first group game!!”. How is your lasagna?
    It aint finest cut bred on a heathery Hill.
    It aint top class Wine its decentish supermarket Wine.
    It aint top class Guinness its okay fizzy cider. To search for great varieties of the above three things you will travel, you will pay and you don’t mind too bad being dissapointed now and then.
    People don’t pay and travel for more commonly available, heavier marketed and safer 7/10 alternatives.
    As an example many club supports do not travel in big numbers for the group stages of champions league. Only when its knockout games against top teams. The champions league goal is TV and selling you crisps and beer. They could turn a profit multiple times over even with no revenue from ticket sales.

  36. Lean times, I’m glad you brought that up even at this time.There is no wrong time for things of great importance.The blanket game when played efficiently is an undoubted winner and it’s being inculcated into the little ones up in the north goodo.Tyrone brought it in,McGuinness adapted it to his needs and it has brought rich rewards to those who have committed to it! It is based primarily on being in possession of the ball until a score is taken.The stakes are high if you lose the ball in the process so it’s abs enathema for that to be allowed to happen….a mortal sin. In the previous game it was a venial sin! The blanket game has trimmed out of existence a great deal of what we came to accept as the bones of Gaelic Football….those aspects you could identify as being truly worthy of inclusion in this unique ball game namely regular high fielding,scores resulting from attractive movements,individual brilliance,identifiable mini contests within the game and more variety of endeavour on the pitch as a whole.Also there used to be what you de rem as remarkable scores both goals and points .Some of this can still be found but in very stunted forms.The breath of the game has been pinched into a strangulating noose where players capabilities are criminally curtailed.It will continue in its ongoing acceptability and it’s colourless predictability and boring format while the tail is allowed to wag the dog!
    We now have another handball game bred from the cry ‘I want’ the ball! We can line it up now with rugby league and soccer and continue to enjoy complaining about it, writing about it and looking for those greatly overrated wins while we go looking for real intertainment else where! Like….! Are we all so blind or short sighted or what?
    It’s time now for the guardians of the game to step together once again and bring some sense to it all…..before or after they put some cop into the structures !

  37. All Ireland quarter finals knock out football to be replaced by a round robin system where you will have dead rubbers and teams reaching the last four on scoring difference how does that look good?

    No team sport in the world changes its rules and competitions as much as the GAA do and its all for the benefit of the money men. Counties,clubs or players do not come into it.

  38. Inbetweener,

    NOW YOU BLOODY SAID IT AND SAID IT WELL,,!! Everything rotten in the game is being plotted in closed minds to ensure that results can be achieved by spoiling developed skills and natural flair with rehearsed running drills and total defensive negativity. The GAA should collectively say “WE SAY NO”, the bums in a dressing room only fill a short row in a stadium stand (thus far).

  39. I agree that the proposal helps the stronger Counties and the TV revenue, not the weaker Counties. Another step towards professionalisation of the elite players.
    I would like to propose a different approach that would:
    1. Provide more games for weaker counties
    2. Ensure that each County plays its games no more than 4 weeks apart and no less than 2.
    3. Retains the provincial championship.
    4. Reduces the “dead rubber” games that a round robin would produce.
    5. Start the championship with a bang rather than the whimper we currently have.
    6. Provide a clear schedule of “off” weeks so that club championships could be played.
    7. Ensure that the almost extinct species known as the dual player does not have games on consecutive days. (ref Podge Collins)

    My proposal is as follows:
    There would be 5 rounds played to determine the all Ireland quarter finalists, partly on a provincial championship and partly on a league basis.

    Round 1
    Preliminary round Ulster and Leinster Championship games plus an open draw for all other Counties. I would set up the open draw to ensure all other teams play teams for different provinces.

    Round 2
    Provincial quarter finals plus an open draw between Preliminary round losers and those Counties in Connaught and Munster that have a bye to the provincial semis.

    Round 3
    Provincial semi finals plus an open draw between the remaining counties.

    Round 4
    Provincial finals plus the top 12 (half) of the remaining counties

    Round 5
    Top 8 teams excluding provincial winners in a straight knockout.

    All Ireland Quarter Finals
    Provincial winners v Round 5 winners.

    Scoring and progression
    In order to eliminate fixture confusion there would be no replays prior to provincial finals or all Ireland quarters. Instead if the teams remain level after extra time, the “away” team would progress automatically in the provincial championship. Likewise the higher placed team from the first four rounds would progress in round 5. To further reduce dead rubber games and add more differentiation to points, I would also like to borrow from rugby and change points scoring as follows:
    5 points for a win in 70 minutes
    4 points for a win after extra time.
    3 points for a draw after extra time.
    2 points for a loss after extra time.
    Bonus point for a team that scores 20 points or more in normal time.
    Bonus point for a team that loses by less than 5 points in normal time.

    Each round would be held on a three week schedule, half the games on week 1, the other half on week 2, with week three being an “off” week. I would play the Hurling championship games in week 3 to a similar format with one less round.

  40. Interesting proposals, some of which I agree with. I d keep the provincials, you only need to see the delight on the faces of tyrone and Galway players this year to appreciate what it meant. See also Sligo 2007, Leitrim 1994 as examples and from a personal perspective I love playing against and beating Ross and Galway. I can also understand the GAA perspective. They get lots of one sided meaningless matches in early summer which does not reflect well on the organization, so a number of big matches between the top eight in front of big crowds would be perfect Now for the downsides. Again this would suit the stronger counties. Whatever about beating Kerry or dubs in a one off quarter final and knocking them out, well theres no way they wouldn’t finish in the top two over the course of 3 games. Then of course the dubs would have two home games so again all this favours the strong counties. While we would have been involved in the last 8 over the past few years I remember plenty of occasions when we weren’t anywhere near the last 8 and when this present team goes away there is no guarantee that we will be playing at the top table so regularly. Finally a system like this would deprive the likes of Tipp, Wexford and Fermanagh of making it to AISF as they have in the last 13 years.A lucky draw and a few good performances meant that these counties brought a bit of romance and interest in 2004, 2008 and 2016. Long may this continue.

  41. The provincial championships will not be abolished….the Councils will not abolish their own competitions. However, these championships have their purpose. There are only 5 counties in Ireland that ‘take for granted’ a provincial win…Dublin, Kerry, Cork, Galway and ourselves. Think about it: any other county does not win a huge amount (Tyrone have about 12 Ulsters now in total) and you can only imagine how a Wicklow, Carlow or Fermanagh would react if they won theirs. Therefore I think the ingrained concept of winning in your own backyard is still appealing for all counties and an aspiration for many others. The problem with the provincials is how to link them fairly to the All-Ireland series…however that does not mean that people should overlook the value of the provincials to the competing counties. Did Galway look despondent when they won the Connacht title recently?

    The provincials should be played off in 2 months and then an 8-group-of-four chanpions league should be commenced with each team playing each other home and away, before moving to a knockout last 16.

    One of the glaring problems with the current structure is it basic unfairness i.e. some counties play more games to get to the same stage, different intervals for teams between games etc. You never see a situation in the Champions League or H Cup whereby two teams meet in the quarter finals with one team having play more games to get to that stage and have played for the last 2/3 weeks running whereas the other team hasn’t played in 3 weeks. I think we can all agree, irrespective of our views on the correct structure, that there should at least be a level playing field in terms of intervals between games, amount of games played etc – teams have a basic right to have a schedule that is no better or worse than other teams in the competition.

    The other basic problem with the current championship is it takes far too long to play games.

  42. I like the knockout quarter finals, running these as round robins would water down the excitement of the All-Ireland series. Why not have the round robin games within the provinces, with each county getting 3 games based on an open draw? The top 2 from each province then go into the quarters and we retain the knockout style series, while at the same time keeping the traditions in the provinces and increasing the game time for smaller teams

  43. Cosa bana, you have obviously taught a great deal about what you say! “I’ll have to digest it more before I say Yea or Nae but on first reading very impressive proposals. Maybe someone in authority should listen to your proposal?

  44. @Leantimes, yes been thinking about championship structure for a while. The new proposal announced yesterday finally got me to sit down and put pen to paper.

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