Friday 24 May 2019

Second-tier championship plans to be put to Management Committee

'In the event that a Division 3 or 4 team reached a provincial final, it is envisaged that this would qualify them for the tier one qualifiers if they lost' (stock photo)
'In the event that a Division 3 or 4 team reached a provincial final, it is envisaged that this would qualify them for the tier one qualifiers if they lost' (stock photo)
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A second-tier football championship competition could move a step closer later this month when proposals offering structure around what it could look like are put before the GAA's Management Committee.

The preferred option at this stage looks like a split between the top two and bottom two divisions immediately after the provincial championships are completed.

In the event that a Division 3 or 4 team reached a provincial final, it is envisaged that this would qualify them for the tier one qualifiers if they lost.

Winning a provincial title would automatically gain access to the 'Super 8s'.

And there is also support for a promoted and relegated teams to and from Division 2 and 3 to have that new status recognised in the same championship year.

The alternative option is to split the divisions after two rounds of qualifiers and this may be seen as a more favourable by players.

But drawing on the experience of the Tommy Murphy Cup before, there is growing support for the split to happen straight after the provincial championship, ruling out a third competition for some counties.

Any change would have to be approved by Congress, most likely a Special Congress that has been floated for September next.

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

Advocate Connacht GAA president and Leitrim native Gerry McGovern has been a strong advocate for a second-tier championship for some time and reiterated that support in his programme notes to last Sunday's Connacht quarter-final.

McGovern believes that split should happen directly after the provincial championships, suggesting anything else would be a "disaster."

He also feels a second-tier competition would have to align with big All-Ireland series games and sees no reason why the final could not share billing with the All-Ireland final itself.

"For me, it can't happen quickly enough. And I'd wonder are two tiers even enough. But for now it would be a start and I'd like to see it by 2020," he said.

The prospect of two tiers to the football championship was a topic of discussion over the weekend with a number of Division 3 and 4 counties really putting it up to, and in one case, beating opponents higher up the food chain.

But under any proposed new format the provincial championships will be remaining as they are which creates the scope for results like Limerick's against Tipperary on Saturday night as they recorded a seven-point win.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Limerick’s uphill task, Tipp’s ruthlessness and can Cork push on?

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport