Thursday 22 March 2018

Support growing for 'round robin' addition to All-Ireland championships

Niall Daly of Roscommon. Photo: Sportsfile
Niall Daly of Roscommon. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The prospect of the All-Ireland football quarter-finals being replaced by a 'round robin' series has increased after three more counties have indicated support for the plan.

Armagh, Donegal and Meath are backing the Central Council proposal, which will go before Congress in Croke Park this day fortnight. If accepted, the eight-game 'round robin' will start in 2018 on a three-year experimental basis.

GAA director-general Páraic Duffy has been visiting counties to explain the rationale behind the plan, which also involves bringing forward the All-Ireland finals by two weeks and playing extra-time in the majority of championship games that end level.

The proposal will require a two-thirds majority to be passed.

The 'round robin' would feature the four provincial winners and four qualifiers, divided into two groups of four. Each county would play three games, with the top two in either group qualifying for the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Roscommon have been hit with a further setback, following reports that Niall Daly has quit the panel.

One of their best performers last year, he was replaced at half-time in last Sunday's Allianz League clash with Tyrone.

It's the latest in a season of upheaval in Roscommon, during which they have lost several of the 2016 squad to retirements, unavailability for personal reasons and work commitments while some others were omitted by manager Kevin McStay.

Roscommon, who lost to the Red Hands last Sunday, host Donegal in Round 2 tomorrow, with a win vital if they are not to get dragged into the Division 1 relegation zone very early in the campaign. Donegal are also under pressure, having lost to Kerry last Sunday.

The biggest crowd of the weekend is certain to be in Croke Park this evening when both the All-Ireland football and hurling champions will be in action.

Dublin footballers will be bidding to extend their unbeaten to 30 league and championship games when they face Tyrone (7.0), while Tipperary hurlers begin their 1A campaign against Dublin (5.0).

Both Dublin and Tyrone won their opening games. Kerry also won last weekend and will face Mayo in another big attraction in Tralee this evening (7.0). Mayo lost to Monaghan last Saturday.

Irish Independent

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