Thursday 20 June 2019

Smaller counties must get shot at provincial glory - McManus

Cian McManus isn’t opposed to the idea of playing in a second tier but insists the provincials must remain. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Cian McManus isn’t opposed to the idea of playing in a second tier but insists the provincials must remain. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Fermanagh's Cian McManus is open to the idea of a second tier in the football championship - but only if the provincial championships remain.

Central Council are expected to bring a motion to Congress in February that could see the introduction of a 'B' championship in football, with the exact details of how that would look to be thrashed out early in the New Year.

It seems likely that the top 16 teams would compete for Sam Maguire with the rest entering the second tier. Fermanagh have been operating around the level where the divide might be with 2017 seeing them suffer relegation from Division 2 before coming straight back up earlier this year.

And McManus isn't opposed to the idea of playing in a second tier but insists the provincials must remain.

"It would have to depend on the details, like. I wouldn't like them just to scrap a provincial championship. I think that's key to keep it around.

"If it was just a 'B' championship and an 'A' championship, I think they'd be as well off sticking with the provincials and then the All-Irelands.

"That's the way I would look at it but possibly if there was a case of the provincials and then you could go on to a league format or something, that wouldn't be the worst I suppose. Considering they're trialling new rules, it wouldn't be any harm to trial something like that."

"We were in an Ulster final, we upset a big top six team, top four team (Monaghan) and I think it would take away from the underdogs, you had the likes of Carlow and Laois this year too, another couple of big upsets.

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"So I think the provincial part of it is key, as long as the provincial is around and hopefully Fermanagh can some day win one."

Fermanagh contested their sixth Ulster final this year but were well beaten by Donegal. And McManus reckons the occasion got to them as they looked to break to new ground for the county.

"It was a big occasion. I suppose it probably kind of got to us and Donegal were there and had been there a couple of years and at underage they had always been winning; they just set the tone, we conceded two goals and after that it was an uphill battle."

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