Wintertime is for big thinking about how we can fix the GAA. We all know the pre-season cups are pointless, the League is a wasted opportunity and the Championship is an imperfect beast. This afternoon, Colm Parkinson has emailed us his thoughts on radically revamping the entire gaelic football calendar. He makes some interesting points, protects the club championship and best of all, his plan would give us 5 solid months of intercounty football. Read them below and share your opinions in the comments section. We have our own ideas on what might be do that we hope to publish this later week.
- Provincial championships would be played across January and February instead of O'Byrne Cup/FBD etc (these competitions are a complete waste of time and serve no purpose)
- The provincial championships should be able to be played in two months easily. This will keep the old traditionalists happy.
- Scrap the league as it is entirely.
- The All-Ireland series to be played off on a round-robin league format (what competition in world sport’s main competition is not on a league format?)
- The league usually shows the most consistent team of the year. Any average team can get a good run (and a lucky draw- Ed.) and win a cup: Wimbeldon 1988? Liverpool CL 2005??... Dublin 2010???
There would be 3 divisions - Div 1 (10 teams) Div 2 (10 teams) div 3 (12 teams). It could hypothetically break down as follows:
Division 1: Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Down, Mayo, Armagh, Donegal, Tyrone, Kildare, Meath
Division 2: Laois, Derry, Sligo, Antrim, Monaghan, Galway, Louth, Wexford, Roscommon, Westmeath
Division 3: Offaly, Cavan, Tipp, Limerick, Waterford, Longford, Wicklow, Carlow, Fermanagh, Clare, London/London, Leitrim
- Teams to play each other once (home or away depending on the draw) and games to be played at least once every two weeks (preferably every 10 days). There'd be midweek games, Friday night games etc.
- The All-Ireland series would run for five months, starting the second weekend in March (Paddy's Day?) and run to second week of August.
- Top 4 teams in each division go into semi finals and final to be played in August.
- So there will be three All-Ireland champions each at their own level...See the joy Longford got at winning the Division 4 league, Westmeath's got form winning Division 2 league. Imagine a county like Wexford being crowned All-Ireland (Division 2) champions after a hard season
It also leaves so much room for midweek tv review shows etc.
All Ireland finalists get promoted and bottom two in each division can be relegated (room for relegation playoffs too)
After August 1, its it all CLUB football (except for the teams in All-Ireland semis/finals who will start after 14th august), the club league should be run off by end of July same timeframe as the intercounty (keeping club players happy while intercounty is going on), if county players are not available their not available.
Club players then deservedly get an uninterrupted club championship.