Saturday 21 October 2017

No need for panic over provincial mismatches – O'Neill

GAA president Liam O'Neill Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.
GAA president Liam O'Neill Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

Gaelic Games Martin Breheny

GAA president Liam O'Neill has warned against a knee-jerk reaction to a series of one-sided provincial football championship games, which have prompted calls for change in the formats of the All-Ireland championships.

Eight of the 14 games played in the provincial championships so far have produced wins ranging from 10 to 26 points, leading to claims that there needs to be an urgent overhaul.

Three Munster championship games resulted in victories for Kerry (over Tipperary and Waterford) and Cork (over Limerick) by a combined total of 61 points. Galway, Laois, Carlow, Westmeath and New York also suffered big defeats.

"It would be very unwise to make judgments based on results from the first few weeks of the championship in a given year," O'Neill said.

CONCLUSIONS

"It's never a good idea to rush to conclusions at any time and certainly not with a competition that has been around for a very long time.

"Big wins are not uncommon in other sports too. The Irish rugby team lost to New Zealand by 60 points last year but nobody said that Ireland shouldn't play them again because of that result."

O'Neill has empowered the Football Review Committee (FRC), chaired by Eugene McGee, to look at competition formats in the second phase of their overall examination of the game. That will include considering suggestions from the public as to the best formats.

"People can have their say then. In fact, I'm sure the FRC would be glad to hear from interested parties. If there are good ideas out there, they are always welcome," O'Neill told the Irish Independent.

"The fact that we set up the FRC showed that we felt debate was needed on a whole range of issues, including competition formats, so we will wait until the committee issues its report.

"As with their earlier work, it will be thorough and well researched. That's a sensible way to approach it. There certainly will be no panic on the basis of some big wins in the early rounds of the provincial championships."

Irish Independent

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