Wednesday 7 December 2016

Strugglers need help to level the playing field

Published 25/06/2015 | 02:30

'Imagine the boost it would give a county like Tipperary having someone like Seamus Moynihan going there this week to help them analyse what they did right and wrong against Kerry'
'Imagine the boost it would give a county like Tipperary having someone like Seamus Moynihan going there this week to help them analyse what they did right and wrong against Kerry'

The All-Ireland qualifier system is far from perfect, but many positives have come since we first saw the back door opened in 2001.

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Firstly, every team gets at least two competitive games. Most importantly, though, we get the eight best teams in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Another thing that the qualifiers has done - and I'm not sure is this a good thing or a bad thing - is highlight the growing difference between the top teams and the rest.

Realistically, there are only between four and six teams in with a chance of winning Sam Maguire in any given year - in 2015 it looks like it's between Kerry, Donegal, Dublin and Mayo again - and you have to be in Division 1 of the League to compete.

The counties with the biggest numbers and the biggest resources are pulling away from the rest and I think it's up to the GAA to bridge that gap.

They should make sure that all of the cutting-edge sports science, nutrition and analysis tools that the top teams have are available to all counties.

Some counties will never be able to afford these so if Croke Park stepped in it would help to level the playing field.

Also, it would be a great help if provincial councils, who do a lot of good work and have some excellent coaches already, could employ high-profile players or past players and put them working as coaches in the areas where they're needed.

Not every player can coach, so you would have to ensure you get the right people. But imagine the boost it would give a county like Tipperary having someone like Seamus Moynihan going there this week to help them analyse what they did right and wrong against Kerry.

Irish Independent

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