Friday 15 December 2017

Longford chairman open to Connacht switch

Gaelic games

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

LONGFORD would benefit from a switch to the Connacht football championship on an experimental basis, according to county chairman Pat Cahill.

His comments arise from a suggestion from GAA president Christy Cooney, supported by Dublin CEO John Costello, that consideration should be given to realigning the four provinces into four groups of eight. That would require three Leinster and one Ulster county switching to Connacht and Munster on a 2:2 basis.

Since Longford is the most westerly Leinster county, a move to Connacht would be a natural fit for them.

"I'm speaking personally here, but I wouldn't be averse to change, if only as an experiment," said Cahill.

"We're neighbours with Roscommon and would see ourselves as being on a par with them, but look at how many Connacht finals they have won since Longford won our only Leinster one in 1968.

"And look at how many Connacht finals they have been in. The same goes for Sligo and Leitrim."

Cahill said the current system was stacked against smaller counties in larger provinces as they were invariably in action first in the championship and, if they lost, had a long wait for the qualifiers.

"If the four provinces had the same number of counties, everyone would be in the same boat in terms of when they started. It's something I think should be closely examined," he said.

Cahill feels that if Longford were in the Connacht championship, they would have an excellent chance of contesting (and possibly winning) the final at least once every 10 years --they haven't been in the Leinster final for 43 years.

Roscommon have contested 25 Connacht finals in that period, winning nine, drawing four and losing 12.

Provincial Councils remain sceptical p58

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