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What your county said - Is it feasible for counties to switch provinces to create four regions of eight counties?

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Galway players (l-r): Johnny Coen, Conor Cooney, Jonathan Glynn, Damien Hayes, Niall Burke, Andy Smith and Joe Canning celebrate with the Bob O’Keeffe Cup after winning the Leinster hurling title for the first time in 2012

Galway players (l-r): Johnny Coen, Conor Cooney, Jonathan Glynn, Damien Hayes, Niall Burke, Andy Smith and Joe Canning celebrate with the Bob O’Keeffe Cup after winning the Leinster hurling title for the first time in 2012

Galway players (l-r): Johnny Coen, Conor Cooney, Jonathan Glynn, Damien Hayes, Niall Burke, Andy Smith and Joe Canning celebrate with the Bob O’Keeffe Cup after winning the Leinster hurling title for the first time in 2012

Question: Is it feasible to ask counties to switch provinces in order to create four regions of eight counties each, another Fixtures Calendar Review Task Force suggestion? If not, why?

ANTRIM (Ciarán McCavana)

No, winning a provincial title is achievable for most counties. The draw is that it is your province with local derbies.

ARMAGH (Mickey Savage)

My number one preference would be to leave as is, because everyone identifies with their own province and I would be more old-school. However, I know there are proposals whereby a team beaten in an Ulster preliminary round could then drop into Connacht or somewhere else to create four groups of eight – I wouldn’t be 100 per cent against that, on the proviso that everyone starts off in their own province.

CARLOW (Jim Bolger)

The summer-based league proposal merits further exploration/debate as to date we have not fully teased out its merits/demerits.

CAVAN (Kieran Callaghan)

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Don’t want it, that’s my personal view. Not that it hasn’t worked in hurling.

CORK (Marc Sheehan)

Personally I would favour the retention of the provincial championship model with extra teams involved as proposed.

DERRY (Stephen Barker)

We see no issues as every county will get a chance to compete in their own provincial championship initially.

DONEGAL (Mick McGrath)

We are undecided on this, and we would need further discussion on it.

DOWN (John Devaney)

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No. The only benefit to this option is in the balance of numbers. But in truth, it won’t alter the lack of dynamic that exists within some provincial championships.

It is not inconceivable that the same list of counties will be constantly having to vie to avoid the move from their own province to a different province each year. The idea of an Ulster county having to pack their bags and head out west to compete in the Connacht championship, while the remaining eight get on with their provincial campaign, is unlikely to be very appealing. Also, of the two new options, this one offers less appeal and incentive in relation to the Tailteann Cup.

DUBLIN (Michael Seavers)

Dublin management committee await the definitive list of motions that will be discussed at Congress later this month and, until such time, I will not be in a position to disclose our views on any of the topics raised. I have my own thoughts on the motions but, as chairperson, I feel it would be inappropriate of me to comment on any of the questions you pose before members of management discuss them.

GALWAY (Pat Kearney)

Yes.

KERRY (Tim Murphy)

No firm opinion has been formed on this as of yet. The intention was to discuss this with clubs in advance of Congress 2021 but we will re-engage with clubs later in the year in advance of Special Congress.

KILDARE (Mick Gorman)

I don’t see how it can be feasible to ask counties to switch provinces. While pools of eight teams is a simple structure and works fine mathematically, I see no logic in calling the resultant competition a provincial series, as it clearly will no longer be based on the provinces.

LAOIS (Peter O’Neill)

No. I do not believe it is feasible or proper to switch provinces.

LEITRIM (Enda Stenson)

We need face-to-face conversation on this.

LIMERICK (John Cregan)

There’s a huge traditional issue there, your province is your province. It’s easy for me to comment on this because my county isn’t being asked to move any place if such a proposal was to be implemented. The history attached to every final is massive for every county, even reaching a final is massive. It is for those counties to decide but I think it’s a difficult one.

LONGFORD (Albert Cooney)

It is an idea worth considering, but personally I would not be in favour. There needs to be a total review of county grades and consider the suggestion with regard to graded/tiered competition. If Longford were moved into Connacht or Ulster, the chances of winning a trophy would not be enhanced greatly, and it is the same for all weaker counties. There needs to be greater emphasis placed on weaker counties and what can be done to improve their lot. The top counties will remain dominant naturally because of population, ability to generate sponsorship because of their success etc. It is at the bottom rung of the ladder that needs real focus.

Playing strength of those counties could be improved by using players from other counties, who are eligible through parentage to play for a lower grade county. There are a lot of very good players in Dublin who are not reaching inter-county status, but if there were some sort of incentive to encourage them to play for the county of their parents, it might help to further improve competition standard. Incentive should not be monetary based and only a limited number (of players permitted) per county. It is my belief that there are a lot of players in this category.

LOUTH (Peter Fitzpatrick)

I wouldn’t see it as feasible. This year we have an opportunity of winning a Leinster championship and if we don’t get to the Leinster final, we’re into the Tailteann Cup. Personally, I wouldn’t be interested in going to Connacht or Munster to play in their championship. I don’t think the appetite would be there. I think the current Tailteann Cup route is best for a county like us. Play your province and then move to Tailteann Cup, most counties in our situation would be happy with that.

MAYO (Liam Moffatt)

Mayo GAA will discuss proposals by the Fixtures Calendar Review Task Force with its clubs in advance of Special Congress.

MEATH (John Kavanagh)

I see merit in what the committee have proposed, while the format is unique and well intentioned, the idea of counties playing in a different province is not something that appeals to me. I believe the summer-based league to be the better option of the proposals.

OFFALY (Michael Duignan)

I don’t know if that’s going to come to pass but I just think the way the football championship has gone that it’s worth trying things to see how they go. I’ve felt for some time that a Champions League style format may be the way for football. The provincial systems no longer work and I think anything is worth trying to come up with a solution and a better format for the championship.

ROSCOMMON (Brian Carroll)

It’s feasible but will be a difficult one for counties. I enjoy the provincial championship as Roscommon have had some memorable provincial campaigns, but I can see there is a problem in some provinces with the gap getting wider between teams. I don’t think provincial championship would have the same interest from counties if they had to move from their own province.

SLIGO (Seán Carroll)

Yes, I think it’s feasible especially now when they have a preliminary round game in their own province, ie they still start off in their own province.

TIPPERARY (Joe Kennedy)

In theory, it is a good idea. But the reality is, there will be resistance to redrawing provincial borders. At this moment in time, it would seem to be too great a step to take. Trying to change too much too quickly is unlikely to be acceptable to enough people to make it work.

WESTMEATH (Frank Mescall)

Of course it’s feasible to switch counties into another province, but it would require a complete change of mindset and we haven’t discussed these proposals yet. We will weigh up all the various football championship options and won’t make a decision until closer to Special Congress.

WEXFORD (Micheál Martin)

I believe that Wexford GAA would be open to this proposal.

WICKLOW (Martin Fitzgerald)

No, it’s not feasible – a lot of travelling and expense.

Note: Waterford made contact but the chairman was not in a position to provide answers. Clare, Tyrone, Monaghan, Fermanagh and Kilkenny did not respond.

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