Sunday 18 February 2018

Deadline day for counties to submit proposals for Championship format revamp

Paraic Duffy, GAA Director General
Paraic Duffy, GAA Director General
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Croke Park is expecting an extensive suite of proposals for changes to three of the four major competitions by the close of business today.

Counties have until this evening to submit their suggestions for adjustments to the senior hurling and football championships and the Allianz Hurling League from 2017 on.

The submissions will be considered by Central Council on Saturday fortnight.

GAA director general Páraic Duffy said that Central Council would decide whether to bring any of the proposals for the championship before Congress next year. A decision on the leagues can be made by Central Council without reference to Congress.

"We're obliged by rule to review the hurling championships and obviously if any changes are proposed for 2017, they would have to be discussed at next year's Congress," he said.

"We decided to take a look at the hurling league at the same so as to streamline everything."

Cork have already proposed that 14 counties, rather than 12, compete in Division 1 of the NHL, with eight in 1A and six in 1B. Both currently comprise six teams each.

Cork are also backing the introduction of a secondary championship competition for weaker counties.

Criticism of the football championship format has increased in recent years, amid fears that some weaker counties are falling further behind.

The introduction of a secondary championship has been mooted, but that was tried more than a decade ago when the Tommy Murphy Cup competition was introduced.

However, interest waned rapidly and it was dispensed with after the 2008 final.

"Everyone has an opinion on how we should run our championships, but we've got to be very careful to get it right," said Duffy.

"It's a very fine balancing act. Change for the sake of change is never a good idea."

Irish Independent

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