Tuesday 19 November 2019

Leinster hold fire on football format as GAA looks to boost weaker teams

Leinster Council chairman John Horan: 'There’s a general acceptance that something needs to be done to help less successful counties. That was the sole aim of the motion'
Leinster Council chairman John Horan: 'There’s a general acceptance that something needs to be done to help less successful counties. That was the sole aim of the motion'
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The Leinster Council will await an initiative from Croke Park before deciding whether to make another attempt to apply a round-robin system in the early rounds of their senior football championship.

Their proposal to allow each province run their championships as they saw fit won a 62-28pc majority vote in last month's Congress vote, but needed 67pc to succeed.

"The vote showed that there was a lot of goodwill towards what we were looking for. We'll now wait and see if anything is done nationally. There's a general acceptance that something needs to be done to help less successful counties. That was the sole aim of the motion," said Leinster Council chairman John Horan.

If Leinster's proposal had been passed at Congress, the likely scenario was that Carlow, Wicklow, Offaly, Longford, Louth and Westmeath would have played off in two groups of three in 2016.

DETAILS

The winners of each group, plus the winners of a play-off between the two second-placed teams, would join Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Laois and Wexford in the Leinster quarter-finals.

"The actual details weren't worked out. There was no point doing that until we got the necessary rule change and unfortunately we didn't quite make it," said Horan.

Opposition to the round-robin plan was based mainly on the effect it might have on club programmes.

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Horan said that the round-robin worked well in the Leinster hurling championship without seriously impacting on club activity and the same would apply in football. New GAA president, Aogán ó Fearghail said after taking office that while the provincial championships had served the GAA well, the format of the All-Ireland qualifiers needed to be assessed.

Leinster will wait to see if anything comes of that while reserving the right to re-enter their round-robin proposal.

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