Monday 17 December 2018

Tyrone show support for second-tier football competition

'Red Hand county secretary Dominic McCaughey claims a new system would provide more meaningful and competitive games for both the stronger and weaker counties' Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
'Red Hand county secretary Dominic McCaughey claims a new system would provide more meaningful and competitive games for both the stronger and weaker counties' Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Some of Tyrone GAA's top brass have come out strongly in favour of a second-tier competition in inter-county football.

Central Council is due to discuss the possibility at their January meeting with a view to bringing a proposal to Congress. If the move garners enough support, a secondary competition could be introduced in time for the 2020 season.

And in his report to Tyrone convention, Red Hand county secretary Dominic McCaughey claims a new system would provide more meaningful and competitive games for both the stronger and weaker counties.

And he also believes the pressure on fixtures could be relieved in part if the league marked the start of the inter-county season.

"On a trial basis, consideration should be given to commencing the inter-county season with the National League, followed by a stand-alone Provincial Championship, in which more than one game takes place on each weekend; then, an All-Ireland two-tier championship, with 16 teams in each tier, would conclude the inter-county season.

Grading "The grading of teams for each tier of the championship would best be determined on finishing positions in the previous year's National League, with all Division 1 and Division 2 teams participating in the higher tier and all the Division 3 and Division 4 teams taking part in the lower tier championship," he suggests. 

McCaughey wants to see a system similar to the club model in most counties, where competitions in both league and championship are run on a divisional basis.

And he believes it would be a 'fairer' system to all involved.

"This set-up would bear a strong resemblance to that which operates very effectively at club level in most counties," McCaughey continues.

"It would result in county teams participating in games that are much more meaningful and competitive - which is fairer to the stronger counties as well as to the weaker ones - and players competing against opponents of a similar strength and quality.

"With a two-tier All-Ireland championship, supporters and patrons would be attracted to attend games in greater numbers where the outcomes are not predictable, or foregone conclusions.

"The time-frames would remain condensed but the number of games to be scheduled within the allocated time-frames would be reduced, with the possibility of club games being accommodated more readily, also."

Irish Independent

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