Revamp league to bring 'bite' back into championship – Whelan
It's time for a complete overhaul of the football championship and to dispense with the National League.
That's the verdict from Dublin's former powerhouse Ciaran Whelan, who has called for the game's current structures to be radically changed.
Whelan, who played with Dublin for 13 years, believes that the public have grown tired of the current "outdated" format and feels the GAA's Football Review Committee (FRC) need to prioritise change as a matter of urgency. "There's a staleness and to be frank about it, the football championship this year hasn't been great," Whelan declared.
"The bite is gone out of it. There's been nothing to get excited about. No games have put you on the edge of your seat saying, 'this is end to end stuff'. They're becoming repetitive. We need something new.
"I think the FRC said when they reviewed it that they didn't want to come up with a proposal that wouldn't get through Congress. That's fine but at least we can start the debate."
Whelan insisted that if a more modernised structure was introduced, it would "freshen up" the championship while keeping the crowds coming through the turnstiles.
"I'm in favour of replacing the National Leagues with provincial leagues and having your provincial title handed out in April," said the former midfielder.
"Your top five teams from each province would go forward into a Champions League style, four groups of five. Two home games, two away games. Everyone gets an equal start at the beginning of the year. We get a lot more competitive, realistic view of the league because people are striving for positions.
"There's benefits for every county in that – it takes Dublin out of Croke Park as well. It freshens up the whole thing," he added.