Tuesday 20 February 2018

Dublin footballers may get bye to provincial semi-final to limit damaging defeats

Leinster Council poised to follow ‘Kilkenny model’ in bid to limit damaging defeats
Leinster Council poised to follow ‘Kilkenny model’ in bid to limit damaging defeats
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Dublin could be afforded a bye straight into the 2016 Leinster football semi-final if they retain their title next month.

Leinster Council chairman John Horan says the matter will be put on the agenda prior to the provincial championship draws in October as their dominance threatens to become even more pronounced.

During Kilkenny's vice-like grip on the Leinster hurling championship the provincial body arranged their draw so the champions could enter at the penultimate stage.

Horan feels the time is right now to put the same question to Leinster delegates regarding Dublin if their dominance extends to a tenth title in 11 years.

"We gave Kilkenny a bye to a Leinster semi-final. Do we give Dublin a bye into a football semi-final?" he asked. "That's something we have to look at and it will be arrived at by democratic decision."

Dublin have won 30 of their last 32 Leinster Championship games and last Sunday's 27-point hammering of Longford matched their biggest win in that sequence since their 4-26 to 0-11 Leinster semi-final win over Westmeath in 2009.

Twelve of their 30 wins have been by a double-digit margin with nine by 16 points or more.

The idea of the champions entering later is to allow lesser lights in the province to become more battle-hardened by winning a couple of earlier rounds before they are tasked with meeting them.

Dublin themselves may not be in agreement as it could potentially leave them without a game for three months if they didn't qualify for league play-offs.

Horan said criticism of the province is unfair and he stressed that they weren't "naive" about the problem their football championship faced.

Leinster brought a motion to Congress seeking permission to run a championship round robin for 'weaker' counties but it was defeated by 12 votes.

"We did try something, we're not going around with our heads in the sand," said Horan.

Irish Independent

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