Sunday 22 July 2018

Format changes for All-Ireland football championships to return to the agenda

Gaelic Games

Antrim and Louth take each other on at 4pm
Antrim and Louth take each other on at 4pm
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A review of the formats for the All-Ireland senior football championships is set to return to the agenda later in the year.

It suffered a crushing setback when a raft of proposals, brought forward by several counties, the GPA and Central Council in late 2015, failed to get the necessary support to effect change.

The GPA blueprint didn't even make it to Congress, having been rejected by Central Council because it featured a considerable increase in the number of games required to complete the All-Ireland series.

Central Council later suffered an embarrassment when forced to withdraw their own proposal hours before it was due to go before Congress in late February.

They backed the introduction of an All-Ireland 'B' championship for Division 4 counties, which would be excluded from the qualifiers. However, it was doomed once the GPA announced that players would not participate.

Most of the Division 4 counties also opposed it, although some had initially expressed support.

Proposals for change from Roscommon and Carlow went before Congress but were beaten. However, the Carlow plan got 40pc support in a vote, which suggests that there's a genuine mood for change.

Director-general Páraic Duffy said that the "door certainly wasn't closed" on championship adjustments.

"We'll look at it again later on. We've been busy with other matters since Congress but we'll reflect on all that happened with the championship proposals later on and decide where to go. It's very complicated as we saw in the months before Congress and at Congress itself," he said.

The likelihood is that a committee will be set up to examine all angles.

One of the big problems with the recent proposals was that since they came from several counties on a piecemeal basis, they lacked coherence.

Irish Independent

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