Tuesday 19 September 2017

Open draw experiment on the cards for clubs, says O'Neill

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

AN open-draw format could be experimented with in the club championships, GAA president Liam O'Neill has hinted.

Speaking at the launch of the AIB-sponsored competitions, O'Neill stated that the club championships could be used to test different formats that could, in time, be introduced at inter-county level.

However, the Laois man warned that any change would throw up other issues for the GAA and fixture makers across the country.

"If an open draw was going to be experimented with, it would likely be in the club championship, but people would have to be aware of the implications for that," he said.

"I spent six years doing club fixtures in a dual county. Once you move one thing, it has implications for every other thing all the way down the line."

O'Neill is satisfied with the timing of the club championships, with both finals taking place on St Patrick's Day, but he wouldn't rule out the possibility of running off the club competition in a calendar year if there was sufficient appetite.

"That hasn't been fully teased out. We are open to suggestions," he said. "We did consider it before but we have to think the thing out when you have a brand that works.

"At one stage the inter-provincials worked in March and then their time came. The clubs are still working, we are always nervous about interfering with a brand that still works.

"And before you'd go away from that brand, you'd want to be sure of what you are bringing in."

Irish Independent

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