Friday 24 March 2017

Gilroy insists bringing back league semi-finals is 'a farce'

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

AS DUBLIN attempt to win their first football league title since 1993 and complete the first leg of a possible National League double with their hurlers, football manager Pat Gilroy says reintroducing semi-finals will make "a farce" of the competitions.

"I don't understand the logic of reintroducing semi-finals," Gilroy said of last weekend's decision to bring them back in for the top tiers in both codes next year.

"You have four teams on top and two on the bottom so there's only one team in the middle, and I think it makes a bit of a farce of the league because the team that is fourth could have won five points in the league and still win it."

"It kind of makes the league a bit of a strange thing too. In the middle of the last game you could be making a semi-final if you win by two points or be relegated if you lose by two. From my own playing days, I don't think anyone particularly looked forward to league semi-finals."

"And it's difficult enough for clubs to fit in games, it doesn't seem practical to throw in extra fixtures at this time of year."

Gilroy acknowledged that there is massive expectation on his unbeaten side this weekend.

"Of course I understand that expectation, I was a Dublin supporter myself and I thought Dublin had to win the All-Ireland every year," he quipped.

"But expectation and hype are for supporters. We don't have time for that, we don't get involved, just stay focused on our job which is to beat Cork on Sunday.

He freely admitted that winning the league has not been Dublin's priority, saying: "It hasn't been a big thing for us to win a National League.

"But the only reason you play is to win things. Whether it's this or something else, we've got to pick up stuff (trophies) this year or it's definitely regression for us."

The GAA have taken a leaf out of Dublin County Board's promotional book by bringing in rock band Aslan as half-time entertainment for the Division 1 final and promising a free Cadbury's egg to the first 1,000 children through the Cusack and Davin stiles for Sunday's big double-header.

Laois take on Donegal in the Division 2 final at 2.0 followed by the Dubs and Cork at 4.0.

Saturday's games have been extended to a treble-header as a Connacht minor football championship match between New York and Roscommon will be the curtain-raiser at 3.0, before the Division 4 final between Longford and Roscommon (5.0), followed by the Division 3 decider between Louth and Westmeath (7.0).

Irish Independent

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