Sunday 4 December 2016

Provincial championships again prove boring and predictable

Colm Parkinson

Published 22/07/2015 | 02:30

'Donegal's big players from their All-Ireland winning year like Lacey (pictured), Gallagher and McFadden are not getting any younger'
'Donegal's big players from their All-Ireland winning year like Lacey (pictured), Gallagher and McFadden are not getting any younger'

The provincial championships are so predictable. It's really amazing how they remain so popular amongst players and supporters.

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Anyone could have predicted that Dublin and Mayo would cruise to their titles. Kerry were a banker too despite Cork at least making it interesting this year.

Ulster is still the most competitive provincial championship but how good is it really? It's a dogfight and it's relatively competitive because of the defensive systems in operation by every team. That doesn't mean the standard is up to much.

Ulster champions Monaghan were beaten by Dublin last year in Croke Park by 17 points, a hammering they dish out to 'weak' teams in Leinster on a regular basis.

Derry were beaten by Longford last year. This year Galway, a team seen by many as easy prey for Mayo, beat Armagh and Derry.

Wexford beat Down, another big name up north, quite easily in this year's qualifiers.

Meath were more than a match for Tyrone away from home in Omagh, with only two points separating them in the end. Westmeath beat Meath in Leinster.

Of course Donegal are the exception. They have beaten Dublin, Mayo and Kerry since 2012 but they are on the slide. Their big players from their All-Ireland winning year like Lacey, Gallagher and McFadden are not getting any younger.

Ulster is seen as the most competitive championship but Donegal have been in the last five Ulster finals and Monaghan the last three. The other three provincial championships are a complete waste of time because of the lack of competition for the big teams.

The provincial championships are dead on their feet. I've said many times they need to be separated from the All-Ireland series and played off within month in March. Only the GAA would drag out non-competitive competitions over almost three months during the summer. Managers, players and pundits saying 'the year starts here' after the provincial championships are over says it all really.

Irish Independent

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