Football Review Committee proposals worth considering

By Staff Reporter

IN the past, two weeks before Christmas would be a time when there would be nothing much to write about in a GAA column.

There is a vast difference this year as our Football Review Committee has come out with a review of what should be done to eliminate the unfairness that is inherent in using the set up of the existing Provincial borders as to how the competing counties begin their journey towards All-Ireland glory.

Depending on whatever Province a county lies in dictates how many games any county should have.

In Leinster there are 11 counties (Kilkenny don’t field) so the likes of Meath could have to play four rounds of games before gaining a quarter-final place in the All Ireland series.

Nine counties in Ulster means competing counties face three rounds, Munster with six have the same number and Connacht with seven counties ( five plus London and New York) meaning that as little as two games is most needed.There are huge imbalances between a Leinster county and one in Connacht.

 

Compete

With 32 counties wanting to compete, the very obvious solution would be to have four groups of eight and the way the Football Review is to take four counties from outside (the Review Committee suggest three from Leinster and one from Ulster) and place  two of the Leinster three into Connacht along with one from Ulster and one of the  Leinster three into Munster. If that is adopted there would be four groups of eight.The big difficulty will come with the decision as to how the displaced are chosen.

The Review says it should be decided by picking the four that are worst placed in the National League of 2013 and ensuring that the worst two in Ulster play off with the losers taking a walk into Connacht. That would involve Cavan and Antrim as it stands.

There would be no less than six counties in Leinster playing off with the three losers moving into Munster.

The obvious difficulty with that is a punishment is going to be imposed after the competitive games are over and you can bet that there are at least eight counties that are going to vote against.

 

Merit

There is more than some merit behind the report if the decision as to who should be involved was not made until the finish of the routine rounds of the National League of 2014 in April/May next year.

That would spice up the League considerably and every possible punishment spelt out before a ball is kicked.

Other matters are not spelt out – if a county loses a game that means they move into another province do they have a possible entry into the qualifiers if they lose a game in the new Provincial championship?

That would mean two possibilities of being a loser back in the running, whilst provincial winners that get beaten in the All-Ireland quarter final do not get one.

There are counties that perhaps would like new opposition but there are even more with a conservative   bent who oppose change simply because it is a change.

Furthermore, it will mean more inter-county matches at a time when the number of such games is being attacked because of player fatigue.

The number of players that are used every year was highlighted this week when Tipperary announced that there were just short of 700  players that had been given transfers to overseas since 2009.

Not every one of those was a county player but some thirty of them were youngsters with promise that they would blossom in time. Makes one think.

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