Friday 9 December 2016

Paraic Duffy rejects gaelic football 'doomsday scenario'

GAA chief leaps to defence of the championship

Published 05/08/2015 | 02:30

Paraic Duffy is open to new ideas but says they must be realistic
Paraic Duffy is open to new ideas but says they must be realistic

GAA director-general Paraic Duffy has rubbished suggestions that football is facing a "doomsday scenario" after a disappointing weekend's action at Croke Park.

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Addressing the assembled media yesterday, an animated Duffy insisted that analysts and pundits simply need to be more realistic in terms of what they expect from certain counties when they come up against the game's heavy hitters.

"The doomsday situation, I don't agree with it," said the Monaghan-born official. "We've had this debate this year about the structure of the Championship and doomsday - but we should be celebrating what Fermanagh did here last Sunday.

"To be even here and be able to reasonably compete with Dublin was a great performance on their part. Look at the number of clubs that they have.

"The same with Longford. We should be applauding the success of Longford with their minors getting to the (Leinster) minor final based on the population they have."

And while he stressed that the GAA remain open to any changes in structure which could help smaller counties, Duffy believes there will always be one-sided games in any code.

"Let me tell you this: in a couple of months' time the Rugby World Cup takes place. Uruguay are in it and Canada and the US. I'm not an expert - there's three or four that I can think of.

"Have they any chance of winning the Rugby World Cup? Any chance? Will there be hammerings in it? Will there be one-sided games in it? Of course there will.

"But I don't see any clamour in the Irish papers, people saying 'keep these teams out of the Rugby World Cup, they shouldn't be in it'.

"The (English) Premiership starts next weekend - I'll tell you now the top four. I'm no expert in soccer but everyone knows who the top four will be. I don't hear any clamour about the teams that can't compete at the bottom, the Bournemouths and so on.

"We need to get a sense of perspective. We've lost a sense of perspective around this.

"Every team doesn't have to be in the competition just to win it. Because if that's the basis we'll end up with a competition with four and six teams in every competition."

And Duffy went on to warn that the introduction of a second tier could well be counter-productive.

The GAA had previously introduced the Tommy Murphy Cup for weaker teams but failed to generate any real interest.

"We're open to suggestions. I presume we'll come forward with some sort of tweaking or an alternative," said Duffy.

"But I'll tell you there's no guarantee that it'll be accepted because if you start excluding people all over the place, the bottom eight, the bottom 12, just watch the reaction you get from the players, never mind the counties," he concluded.

Elsewhere, Mayo have kept faith with the same 15 that started the game against Sligo for this weekend's quarter-final against Donegal.

Irish Independent

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