Monday 26 September 2016

Colm Parkinson: Make second-tier counties earn right to play with the big boys

Colm Parkinson

Published 05/08/2015 | 02:30

Fermanagh's Sean Quigley: 'I would not want to play in a second-tier comp and miss out on massive days like today'
Fermanagh's Sean Quigley: 'I would not want to play in a second-tier comp and miss out on massive days like today'

On Sunday night Sean Quigley tweeted: "Fermanagh are seen as a weaker county. I would not want to play in a second-tier comp and miss out on massive days like today."

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First off, Sean might change his mind if he had to play the Dubs in Croke Park on a yearly basis or if he had to beat them there to have any chance of a provincial championship medal.

He was responding to a pretty pointless tweet from The Sunday Game asking players involved from weaker counties if they wanted to play in a second-tier competition.

Ask any team in the Championship would they want to play in the Premier League and the answer would be yes. Ask Connacht if they want to play in the Champions Cup and what would the answer be?

But teams have to earn the right to play with the big boys. It happens in every competition in world sport. In the GAA, everyone is given that right to play in the main competition despite over half the teams being miles off the required standard.

I've said it so many times things need to change. I proposed a simple, workable Championship restructure earlier this year that reduces the intercounty season and allows teams of similar standard play each other throughout the summer months.

Play the provincials earlier in the year and then play the Championship off as a league, exactly as it is now. Then have All-Ireland quarter-finals between the top two divisions and then a second All-Ireland between teams from the bottom two divisions.

Play both finals in Croke Park on the same day. Every team would have seven championship games against teams at their own standard. I think that's what players and supporters want.

The shortened season would mean more time for Sigerson Cup and, most importantly, the club season.

The teams promoted from the second division All-Ireland would earn the right to play with the top teams the following year, not face them simply because they want to.

Irish Independent

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