Championship structure: red or green?

It’s rather apposite, on the shortest day of the year, to be considering the topic of the GAA’s football Championship structure, given that the business end of the action will be taking place in high summer, when the bright evenings stretch on for hours on end.

New plans for changing the structure of the football Championship are afoot. The fresh push for change builds on the appetite for reform that was so evident in the Special Congress back in October where the radical Proposal B option narrowly failed to obtain the required 60% support.

The publication earlier today of the 2022 master fixtures schedule underscores the desirability for change. Next year will, once again, see the year start with a hyper-competitive but ultimately irrelevant National League competition, followed by the tired old lopsided nonsense of the provincial Championships before the real action – the stuff that matters – gets going in the All-Ireland Series.

Next year may or may not be the final one in which we’re saddled with this pig’s breakfast of a schedule for competitive action at inter-county level. Whether or not this is so depends on what happens next, in the lead-in to next February’s Congress and then at Congress itself, which next year is set to be held at the Dome in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence.

The GAA announced last week that its Management Committee had agreed that two distinct reform proposals would be considered further by its Ard Chomhairle next month, where the aim is that one of these will then be put forward for consideration at Congress in Bekan in February.

The two proposals have been colour-coded. The ‘red’ option is the radical one, styled as an improved Proposal B, whereas the ‘green’ one is a steady as she goes option which would involve minimal enough tweaking. Here’s how the GAA itself characterised the two options:

Red Proposal – a Round Robin Provincial Championship in February/March, followed by a national league type championship from April – July (i.e. an improved Proposal B)

Green Proposal – Retention of the current Allianz League and Provincial championships followed by Round Robin groups in the Sam Maguire and Tailteann Cups

Proponents for real change – many of whom got behind the Proposal B option in October – are likely to weigh in behind the Red Proposal. Key to its chances of making it as far as the Congress Clár will, though, be how it deals with the flaws that were identified in the Proposal B plan, in particular how teams finishing low in the Division One table would have lost out to counties playing in lower divisions.

If, though, the mood within the Ard Chomhairle is to keep things broadly as they are and opt for a bit of minimalist tinkering then it could well be the case that the Green Proposal will be the one to make it onto the agenda for Congress early next year.

We’ll know late next month which way the GAA proposes to take the topic forward. It’s clear from the way the votes went at the Special Congress that there’s a significant appetite within the association for meaningful change but it’s still far from clear if there’s sufficient support for a reform proposal that would see a radical reshaping of the inter-county season.

The debate on Championship reform looks set, then, to recommence in earnest over the coming weeks. As an input to this, let’s test the mid-winter waters on the two options for change that have been mooted: when it comes to structural change are you in the Red corner or the Green corner?

Which reform proposal would you support?

  • Red Proposal (63%, 135 Votes)
  • Green Proposal (37%, 80 Votes)

Total Voters: 215

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18 thoughts on “Championship structure: red or green?

  1. What is not fully voiced is that the difference between 5th team in division goes forward and 6th team in division one goes forward was so mathematically stark that it meant you were dropping a big % of the division one games being cut throat exciting.
    There is always one team in division one is the clear favourite for 8th position. Sometimes there’s a clear favourite for 7th place also.
    It was selfish self interest to wish to finish 6th and continue in the All Ireland series.
    A league is only championship viable with clear and present danger.
    Otherwise it’s yesterdays dinner, microwaved, no sauce.

  2. Voted for the red proposal. Real reform is needed, we’re beyond simply tweaking existing structures.
    But we have to find a balance between meaningful change and making it palatable enough that delegates actually vote it through.

    Only issues I can see with the red proposal are the teams from the lower half of Div 1 missing out on the knockout stage and what to do with the provincial championships.
    Whatever we might think of the provincials currently, they still mean a lot to many counties.
    Somehow tying them in with the new league/championship should be explored.
    If they simply become meaningless pre-season competitions, the Ulster counties in-particular just won’t go for it. The loss of revenue for other provincial councils will mean they are also reluctant to vote for any real change. Some kind of compromise is needed.

  3. With the all Ireland final been played the end of July – a lot of counties will he out of the championship and finished for the year by the of May – just when weather and pitches are getting right for the summer.

  4. Have to say Mayo Gaa twitter page has been really good covering underage games of late. Our PRO deserves great credit. The 2 teams for the Mayo colleges Senior final today up St Geralds v St Muredachs are up on the page today. It covered the Mayo colleges Hurling final Between St Colman’s and Geralds last week also how Mayo Under 16s hammered Cork at Under 16 grade 2 weeks ago and the Mayo Under 15s beat Louth in tournament final last week. Great work going on in this County and needs to be recognised not all doom and gloom like some people try to paint it. Performance in All Ireland final was very disappointing but we are doing alot of things well.

  5. Anyone out there know what’s the story with the ‘water break ‘ ? Is it here to stay permanently or will it be up for debate at the next Congress?
    There’s no mention of it anywhere, good bad or in different.

    Ideally it’s done away with ASAP.

  6. I see it was Sam Callinan v Bob Tuohy in the schools football yesterday. Anyone have a report on the game or idea who played well?
    Both of these guys alongside several others in the Mayo underage system are very bright prospects. I’d be very bullish on their chances of making it at the highest level

  7. anyone know who is in the first panel for the year ahead, any new players and most important is Cillian back training with squad yet.

  8. Tuohy is a midfielder Aidan. Tall, skinny fella, reminded me of Barry Moran with his long arms fielding the ball actually. We could really use a player like that now I reckon in the senior setup

  9. Happy Christmas to you and your family Willie Joe and to all the faithful bloggers here. Hope you all keep safe over the festive season. Looking forward to the football action in the new year. Hoping that together with the return of some of the injured players and the addition of some new players we might finally land Sam.
    Many thanks again Willie Joe for this wonderfully exciting blog. It certainly kept us sane during the mad Covid times.

  10. I’ve just seen a post from fermanagh Gaa on Twitter.
    €100 for an adult and €20 for a juvenile for what appears to be the exact same season ticket Mayo fans are paying €150 for?
    My question is – why the difference? Are the Mayo county board adding on the extra €50 tax or is is Croke park?
    Or is it a case of Mayo fans getting shaken down for an extra €50 for the GAA, just for the Craic?

  11. @larryduff was at the game between muredeachs and Gerald’s
    The class difference between the 2 teams was very big Gerald’s are a machine and going on yesterdays reading nobody is going to come close to stop them
    Callinan played well given the circumstances but he didn’t have a whole lot around him to push on
    Tuohy played well but the standout player for me on the Gerald’s team was Ryan fadden (balla gaa)and sean morahan(minor the year just past)
    Also the goalkeeper for Gerald’s Bryan o Flaherty is also a bright prospect has a booming kick out on him
    I could go and mention the whole Gerald’s team as they are simply outstanding but I would be hear all night.

  12. @Larry Duff..’s because of the Division Fermanagh are playing in, probably very few ‘Season Ticket’ holders in Fermanagh.. The real and only driver of ‘Season Ticket’ sale’s has been the garuntee of an All Ireland final ticket should your County qualify, and if you have paid for enough tickets for the Championship game’s on route, the need to actually attend any game has been done away with.

  13. @Stephen cowley the momentum killers/tactical time outs that are the water breaks will remain in place for all of 2022 according to GAA HQ and They hope its the last year of them.

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