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'Split It' - Sligo Star Weighs In On The League Format Debate

'Split It' - Sligo Star Weighs In On The League Format Debate
By Maurice Brosnan
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The Allianz League finals loom this weekend, bringing to an end another year of the GAA's second competition.

It has prompted questions wondering is it time for a re-think on the format of the league? On this week's Three-Man Weave, the Balls.ie GAA podcast, Sligo midfielder Niall Murphy wrote into the show in response to a suggestion on last week's show for a three-tier league.

Full discussion and Niall Murphy's idea: 3.50

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Murphy proposed a return to the old system.

"Split it into a 1A/B and 2A/B system. Take half the teams in D1 and half in D2 and split them into a 1A group. Take the other half from each and put them in the 1B group.

"This will now allow D2 teams to be playing D1 teams and D4 teams to play D3 teams. It also gives teams more time playing against better teams. Teams improve playing better opposition."

The lads also debated whether the league needs change.

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Maurice: Just on this year's league, Roscommon and Cavan both came up last year, both went down this year. Cavan had -19 score difference, Monaghan had -11, Galway had -8. If you asked any of us to predict who would go down, we would say those two. But they are not that far away, it's just a small gap that is always there.

It's the same in Division 2, who did we tip to go down? Cork. Tipp' went down with them, Meath and Donegal was predictable. Carlow came up from Division 4 and went right back down. Derry went down came right back up, on the very first podcast we said Leitrim would go up as well.

2017, the two teams to go down were Cavan and Roscommon! In 2017, the team who got promoted from Division 3 was Louth. Who do you think got relegated in 2018? Louth. Tipperary came out of Division 3 in 2017, went back down this year.

The league is great because it is competitive, but it's not perfect. Certain parts are predictable, there is a gap but how do we get away from the same top six and no one else? Expose these teams to better opposition. Cavan will only learn not to panic against Kerry, throwing away a lead because they keep fouling and Sean O'Shea nails everything by being in that situation.

Mick: Look, Cavan had a chance. They were close. Maybe if you gave them a further chance, they could survive. But ultimately someone has to go down, if there is a gap where it is probably more the case of a one-team top tier and a five-team second tier. It is just a coincidence that there aren't eight teams, that won't last forever. I like so much of Niall's idea, but are those teams competitive enough? Clare, Tipperary don't have enough of a chance in that scenario. At least they can live with teams in their own division.

Mark: There is a progress thing already. John Sugrue has improved Laois to improve them from Division 4 to 2. They could be in the hunt next year. So it's not that much of a closed book.

On this week's podcast, we spoke to Kerry's Paul Murphy, Mayo's Chris Barrett and Donegal's Stephen McMenamin. The lads also debated the "ugly hurling" criticism, previewed the weekend's games and started a historic new petition. You can listen on Spotify, iTunes, Pocketcast or any podcast platform.

SEE ALSO: 'I Felt We Were In A Bad Place In Mayo And I Was Concerned About Leaving Really' 

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