Saturday 15 December 2018

Marc Ó Sé proposes intriguing new Championship structure that would guarantee counties at least four games

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Kerry legend Marc Ó Sé has proposed a new championship format that would guarantee teams four games and two home fixtures for Division Four counties.

He outlined the format in his column in today's Irish Mail On Sunday after complaining about how stagnant the four provincial championships have become.

The GAA will introduce the 'Super Eights' structure later this summer with the eight All-Ireland quarter-finalists divided into two groups of four with a round-robin deciding the semi-finalists.

Reaction to the new format has been mixed and Ó Sé has come up with a viable alternative with the help of a Twitter follower.

"There has to be a better way and a recent tweet I received from a football enthusiast might provide the pathway," he wrote.

"He suggested that the provincial championships be played as standalone competitions , with the All-Ireland series consisting of eight groups of four, seeded by National League finishing positions.

"That would see a team from each division make up the groups, and provide added incentive to those teams chasing promotion in the spring because their seeding status would be bumped up by one.

"The top two teams in each group would go into straight knock-out Sam Maguire playoffs, the bottom 16 into an All-Ireland 'B' Championship with both deciders played on the same day at the end of August.

"I like the cut of that proposal, although with some modifications.

"A window has to be kept open for the club game, which means that it serves little purpose to persist with the provincials as standalone competitions, and we need to let them go. If that proves too difficult, they should simply take the place of the existing pre-season competitions.

"The beauty of this format is that every team is guaranteed a minimum of four championship games, and are, to a point, in charge of their own destiny from the moment they take the first kick in spring.

"To add a sense of fairness and intrigue, the bottoms seeds, i.e Division Four teams, should be given two home games in the group stage.

"Can you imagine the stir it would create in Leitrim if Dublin had to come calling to Carrick-On-Shannon or Kerry were sent up the road to Aughrim. It would give something for everyone to look forward to."

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