Wednesday 21 February 2018

Division 4 sides to decide fate of proposal for qualifier exile

A number of counties have submitted motions to Congress for changing the championship structure but it’s highly unlikely that any of them will succeed. (Stock picture)
A number of counties have submitted motions to Congress for changing the championship structure but it’s highly unlikely that any of them will succeed. (Stock picture)
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The response of Division 4 counties to the proposal to exclude them from the qualifiers will decide if a Central Council plan for a revamp of the All-Ireland senior football championship is accepted by Congress next month.

Central Council are also recommending the introduction of an All-Ireland 'B' championship for Division 4 counties, similar to the Tommy Murphy Cup, which was on the calendar from 2004 to 2008.

However, unlike that period when no Division 4 counties were allowed enter through the 'back door', it's proposed that the winners of the secondary championship be admitted to the qualifiers in the following season.

It would require a two-thirds majority at Congress to introduce the new format and obviously the vote will be greatly influenced by how Division 4 counties react to the proposal.

Momentum

If they object, it's difficult to see how other counties could force them out of the qualifiers and into a competition which, based on the 2004-2008 experience, ran out of momentum.

In the end, players had no real interest in the Tommy Murphy Cup, a situation which could be replicated if it's tried again in a slightly different guise.

A number of counties have submitted motions to Congress for changing the championship structure but it's highly unlikely that any of them will succeed.

Meanwhile, supporters of the U-21 football championship will be pleased to learn that the proposal to scrap the competition will not be put to Congress.

It met with strong opposition and would have been well beaten.

Central Council has also decided not to proceed with a proposal that extra-time be played in all championship games which finish level. Instead, they are proposing that replays apply if senior provincial finals or All-Ireland finals finish level.

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