• Home
  • /
  • GAA
  • /
  • Sean Cavanagh Lays Out Glaring Issues With All-Ireland Format

Sean Cavanagh Lays Out Glaring Issues With All-Ireland Format

Sean Cavanagh Lays Out Glaring Issues With All-Ireland Format
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
Share this article

The All-Ireland football championship, once again, has seen a change in format this season, as the GAA trial methods to make the Sam Maguire series a more closely matched affair.

The change in format has seen the provincial championships dramatically condensed in time, with the finals already played in Munster and Connacht, and next week bringing the Leinster and Ulster deciders.

With the group phase of the All-Ireland series getting underway in the coming weeks, the new format will be put to the test - but many have already made up their minds on it.

The provincial championships remain a hot topic of debate and, after two finals on Sunday which showed the massive gulf in class that still exists in Munster and Connacht, RTÉ pundit Sean Cavanagh questioned whether the new All-Ireland format addressed the true issues at the heart of the game.

All-Ireland football: Sean Cavanagh bemoans increase in meaningless games

Sunday saw Galway face Sligo in the Connacht football final, before Kerry took on Clare in Munster. Neither game produced particularly riveting action, with Galway taking a 14-point win in the Connacht decider before Kerry put five goals past Clare later in the afternoon.

Kerry Clare

7 May 2023; Dara Moynihan of Kerry celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Kerry and Clare at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

It couldn't be argued that either game was a strong advertisement in favour of the provincial championships, yet all four teams  involved will now progress to the 16-county pool stage at the outset of the All-Ireland football championship.

The new format, along with the introduction of the Tailteann Cup, is intended to create a more riveting championship, with a higher number of meaningful, competitive games.

Appearing on The Sunday Game on RTÉ this week, Sean Cavanagh argued that the changes have achieved the exact opposite.



He bemoaned the current layout of the inter-county season, which sees too many games perceived as "pre-season" fixtures before the actual championship gets underway, and said that the length of the intercounty championship would become exhausting:

It's not just the provincials - across the board there's just too many meaningless games. We all grew up goign to championship games, where it was knockout. There was a sense of occasion - it gaves hope for teams who weren't so strong.

We sit here every week and we look at the pre-season and everyone shrugs their shoulders and says 'well, it's only a pre-season competition.'

Teams get safety in the league and everyone goes, 'well, it's only the league, you don't want to make a league final.'

Now we have the provincials and people are shrugging their shoulders and saying 'ah well, it's all about the All-Ireland groups.'

You look at those groups and within a fair degree of knowledge, you know the four teams that are going out right now - but there are going to be another five or six weeks of football.

A big team could lose two games and still end up going on to win Sam. It's too long. There's so much wrong with the structure.

The provincial finals conclude next week with the meeting of Armagh and Derry in the Ulster final, and Dublin and Louth in the Leinster showpiece, before the All-Ireland series gets underway the following week.

SEE ALSO: Donal Óg Cusack Extremely Critical Of GAA And RTÉ Over GAA Go

Donal Og Cusack on Munster hurling championship




Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com