Thursday 19 October 2017

Abolish National League to boost club game - Hanahoe

Dublin GAA legends Brian Mullins, left, Tony Hanahoe, right, and Kerry GAA legend Eoin Liston at the launch of ‘New Ireland presents Heffo’s Army’, a new exhibition in the Little Museum of Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Dublin GAA legends Brian Mullins, left, Tony Hanahoe, right, and Kerry GAA legend Eoin Liston at the launch of ‘New Ireland presents Heffo’s Army’, a new exhibition in the Little Museum of Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Dublin hero Tony Hanahoe has warned that the 'Super 8' structure that will come into force next year will create a 'two-tier' Championship.

Speaking at the launch of the New Ireland Assurance's 'Heffo's Army', an exhibition dedicated to Kevin Heffernan at the Little Museum of Dublin, the former All-Ireland winning manager and player warned that the strong will only get stronger under the new Championship format introduced at last weekend's Congress.

"Any team that would get into the last eight teams. . . if they weren't the established and accepted teams they might die of terror before they got in there because it seems to be the creation of a two-tier system," Hanahoe said.

"I don't say that from any position of badness and suspicion. I just think that might be the end result, that the top teams would get stronger and the weak would not get weaker but just stay where they are."

The St Vincent's man is in favour of dropping the National League to give the club championships renewed significance in the GAA calendar.

"The club players and the clubs are the spoke in the wheel, not the elitist teams, so you have got to provide for those in some way," he said.

"The Championship needs a shake-up. At the same time you have to elevate the importance of the club and the importance of the All-Ireland club championship.

"If it meant dropping the National League so be it - it should be experimented with for maybe a period of three years."

Hanahoe's plan would see the Championship - rather than the League - make up the bulk of an intercounty team's calendar and guarantee them at least seven Championship matches.

"I'd be in favour of a different format in the Championship that every team would have to play a minimum of seven games before they could get to the knock-out stages," he said.

"And I'd be in favour of elevating the club championships - you could build in regional teams which would make its very interesting and strong competition.

"That would reduce the overall burden on players and you'd have two major competitions, and you could fit in the local championships in between those."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport