Thursday 23 January 2020

Earley backs format revamp

Dermot Earley of Kildare Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Dermot Earley of Kildare Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Dermot Earley believes the GAA's recent championship proposal, which involves the scrapping of quarter-finals and replacing them with a two-group league format, shows a "positive appetite for change".

The GPA president is keen to move away from what he feels is an "unfair" championship structure and while he admits the plans are far from perfect, they are a step in the right direction.

With some subtle changes and the combination of ideas from the GPA's 2015 plan, which didn't reach this year's Congress, and the current proposal, Earley thinks they could be onto a winner.

"It just needs to be looked at a little bit more. We need to educate ourselves a bit more. Maybe you'd tinker with little parts of what was proposed last year and what was proposed this year and get the best," he said.

"You have to educate the general public and the GAA before this goes to Congress. You can't have a proposal coming up at Congress and getting 10 minutes of a debate, and then a vote. People have to know the ins and outs.

"It's just educating everybody - the delegates, the county board officials, everybody who's at Congress - of the benefits to the organisation, the association, to the games and to the club player about these changes.

"If you took the current GAA structure and presented it now, you'd be laughed at. It's not fair. It's a shorter season for one team, a longer season for another. That is not fair. It needs to change."

Speaking as his late father Dermot was inducted into the GAA Museum Hall of Fame yesterday, Earley reinforced the view that weaker counties have little interest in a second-tier competition and want to compete for Sam Maguire, while he feels provincial championships are the one stumbling block preventing restructuring.

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