Sport GAA

Sunday 25 August 2019

'Lesser-counties' concern over Tier 2 plans

It's likely that a formal proposal on the format of the Tier 2 championship will go before the next meeting of Central Council. (stock photo)
It's likely that a formal proposal on the format of the Tier 2 championship will go before the next meeting of Central Council. (stock photo)
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

There's growing unease among lower-ranked counties over proposals to include 16 teams in a second-tier championship.

While the concept has been welcomed, there's concern over plans to allow some traditionally strong counties into the competition.

Nothing has been settled, but current proposals envisage all Division 3 and 4 teams in a second-tier championship which, if agreed by a Special Congress, will apply from next year on.

If it were in operation this year, Cork and Down, both of whom will be in Division 3 next season, would play in the second-tier competition unless they reached a provincial final.

They met in the All-Ireland final in 2010 and questions are being raised by Division 4 counties whether it's appropriate for the likes of them to feature in Tier 2 action. That would greatly reduce the chances of long-term lower-ranked sides winning the new competition, which is the prime motivation behind it.

If a Tier 2 championship were in operation this year, the following counties would be eligible: Cork, Tipperary, Down, Louth, Longford, Offaly, Carlow, Sligo, Derry, Leitrim, Antrim, Waterford, Wicklow, Wexford, Limerick and London.

Some Division 4 counties believe that Tier 2 should be restricted to the bottom 12 in the league placings, ruling out the top four in Division 3. Opinions also vary over whether counties eligible for the Tier 2 championship should be allowed enter the All-Ireland qualifiers. Some favour taking their chance while others would be happy to go straight to Tier 2 action after being eliminated at provincial level.

It's likely that a formal proposal on the format of the Tier 2 championship will go before the next meeting of Central Council.

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