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'The provincial system is dead' - Ciaran Whelan calls for championship overhaul and offers intriguing alternative

19 October 2017 A general view of the names of the Leinster Football teams after the 2018 GAA Championship Draw at RTÉ Studios in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
19 October 2017 A general view of the names of the Leinster Football teams after the 2018 GAA Championship Draw at RTÉ Studios in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Max Ryan

Dublin legend Ciaran Whelan believes that the provincial system in the football is no longer fit for purpose and has suggested that a new two-tiered format based on league positions replace it.

The provincial championships have become more one-sided in recent seasons, with Dublin winning seven in-a-row in Leinster while Kerry are close behind with five consecutive Munster titles.

There have been growing calls over the last few years to shake up the football championship, but players and administrators have been reluctant to abandon the old provincial structure.

Speaking on this week’s episode of 'The Throw-In' in association with Allianz, Whelan says that the system has not been functioning as it should for a number of years.

"The provincial system is dead and I’ve said that for years," he says.

"Even eight or nine years ago I felt it was dead on its feet."

"There’s been a huge imbalance to it especially for the lads in Ulster. We have to really take a look at the provincial system and ask, what benefit is it really worth?

"Over the next months we face into three or four good games and a lot of dead rubber games where the margins will be 10,12,13 points."

Whelan suggests a two-tiered Championship as the solution to this imbalance.

"I do think maybe your league position should translate into your Championship position," he added.

"Then you could have two Super 16 competitions at the right level because every year the provincial system is letting us down more and more."

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé and John Mullane.

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