Sunday 16 December 2018

Second-tier football championship back on agenda

GAA President John Horan. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
GAA President John Horan. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Central Council have, once again, given their approval to the establishment of a second-tier All-Ireland football championship.

At a meeting on Saturday, there was widespread approval, in principle, for a new competition that would run concurrently with the main championship, finishing on the same day as the All-Ireland final and displacing the traditional minor final curtain-raiser in Croke Park.

The structure of such a competition has yet to be worked out but counties will be invited to make submissions to the Central Competitions Controls Committee (CCCC) who will consider a new format to be sent to next year's Congress.

A second-tier championship is the stated aim of current GAA President John Horan during his three-year term.

But it is an ambitious move considering how badly it failed when it was previously set for Congress in 2016 and was withdrawn prior to the weekend because of a lack of support.

Central Council now feel, however, that the mood has changed and with All-Ireland final day billing it would have the status that it needs to succeed.

Meanwhile, the All-Ireland football final will remain a September event in 2019.

By rule, the All-Ireland finals must now be completed by the end of August but because September 1 is the 35th Sunday in the year, it must be played on this date to fall in line with the GAA's existing fixtures schedule introduced this year.

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