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GAA's tiers in heaven

Horan reveals country-wide support for graded All-Ireland

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VISION: GAA President John Horan speaking at Croke Park during the launch of the ESRI Report into Playing Senior Intercounty Gaelic Games

VISION: GAA President John Horan speaking at Croke Park during the launch of the ESRI Report into Playing Senior Intercounty Gaelic Games

VISION: GAA President John Horan speaking at Croke Park during the launch of the ESRI Report into Playing Senior Intercounty Gaelic Games

A tiered football Championship now looks inevitable and could come into being as soon as 2020 if support continues to gather pace.

Yesterday, at the publication of the ESRI Report into the affects on athletes of playing inter-county football and hurling, GAA President John Horan repeated his support for the new, two-level competition and, notably, outlined detail as to how it might work.

Horan revealed that the issue was discussed at the last Central Council meeting where "every hand went up" in support for a graded All-Ireland SFC.

Arising from that straw poll, Croke Park has now written to counties requesting suggestions as to how the competition - effectively a 'B' Championship - could be structured.

Vitally, Horan's proposed format does not affect the 'Super 8s', therefore it could be implemented before the three-year trial of the current Championship structure is complete in 2020.

Attractive

"It depends on how much momentum we get coming back from the counties that they will actually drive on and go with this and we can get it to happen," Horan admitted.

Essential to garnering support from players and management is enshrining a place in the provincial competitions for all counties and, in theory at least, retaining their chance to win the All-Ireland.

However, counties who compete in Division 3 and 4 of the League would be diverted into the new 'B' Championship if they fail to make their provincial final.

Horan acknowledged: "If you are going to sell it, you are going to have to sell it in a manner that makes it attractive to players."

With regard to this, he outlined his belief that the grade-two final should take the place of the minor decider as the curtain-raiser on All-Ireland final day.

He also suggested a separate All Stars scheme for teams who played in the lower rung, the recipients of which would also be entitled to go on the All Stars trip.

Inevitably, Horan was also asked about the levels of central funding to Dublin GAA in light of the county's recent four-in-a-row and back-to-back All-Ireland football titles in the men's and women's games respectively - Dublin captain Sinead Ahern (right) leading her side to glory on Sunday.

He revealed that he currently has "people actually looking at those stats in the context of the distribution of funds".

He added: "I'm not going to delve into it too much at the moment."

Horan also pointed out that he was one of the decision-makers in the recent redirection of €200,000 of Croke Park monies given to Dublin in 2017 to the 'East Leinster Project', an initiative in Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow that aims to establish proper coaching structures.

Horan also expressed his belief that "to say that all that money going into it is what's creating Jim Gavin's team is slightly an imbalanced argument".

"We are looking at it but you've got to be conscious," he added.

"Any money that is going into Dublin for that coaching programme is going predominantly to the schools, and that benefits camogie, ladies football and ourselves."


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