Thursday 23 January 2020

Record-breaking GAA has to protect the golden goose

The game itself was a magnificent showcase of all that is great about our national games. (stock photo: Sportsfile)
The game itself was a magnificent showcase of all that is great about our national games. (stock photo: Sportsfile)
Editorial

Editorial

It was a record-breaking weekend in Croke Park, with almost 190,000 fans attending four big games - three All-Ireland football quarter-finals, including a replay, and an All-Ireland hurling semi-final.

The followers of the 'small ball' will certainly be more satisfied with their value for money. For the third year in a row, Galway and Tipperary served up a nail-biting finish in a semi-final, this time separated only by Joe Canning's late strike in the final minute.

Epic.

The game itself was a magnificent showcase of all that is great about our national games. The same cannot be said about the Gaelic football on offer, where the match-ups were completely lopsided. The gap between the top four teams and the rest is substantial.

Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone have strolled to the semi-finals. Mayo took a longer route via the qualifiers, but stepped up with the largest winning margin of the quarter-finals with a 22-point drubbing of Roscommon. Mayo are in the semi-finals for the seventh successive year as they chase the Holy Grail of a first All-Ireland since 1951.

Next year, the GAA will move towards a controversial 'Super 8' round robin format, which has the potential to perpetuate that gap between the best and the rest.

The association has to be careful not to kill the golden goose as fans won't be turning out in record numbers for too much longer if all that's on offer is one-sided games and the romance of an underdog shock is consigned to history.

Irish Independent

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