The final week of the Allianz League brings a host of permutations with several relegation and promotion spots up for grabs.
On this week's Three-Man Weave, the Balls.ie GAA podcast, we caught up with Sarah Rowe, Mickey Graham and Raymond Galligan as well as discussed new kick-out creativity and all the final round possibilities. During the course of that conversation, Mark had a proposal for a bold new league format.
Listen to the full debate at 37.22.
Mark: I have a theory right. Or an argument, an idea, I don't know what to call it! Take away the issue with fixture congestion, take away the issue with the matches already. I'm just basing this purely on the quality of the competition, of a spectacle. A competition.
I would propose it becomes more important than the league...
I think we are at the stage where there should be a three-division league rather than four. Look at Cavan and Roscommon in Division One, perfect example. Both times Cavan have come up now, they said 'if only we could get another year in the top division we could come on so much.' Bar the Tyrone game, I don't think they were behind in any game at half-time.
They haven't lost by more than three points bar Tyrone. If the games finished at half-time Cavan would be on six points.
What I mean is the gap isn't all that much but it is enough to stop these teams progressing to a point where they can hack it in an eight-team division one. The same with Roscommon, they go back down and start from scratch. Kildare, Donegal. Donegal might not even come up now. I don't think anyone would doubt their credentials as a quality team.
Look at Division 3, Westmeath, Laois, Longford. There is no massive gap between them and Clare, Tipperary. Longford beat Meath last year and Meath are going up now!
In division four, Carlow benefits from a ten team league. Carlow and Sligo might go down, you'd have more quality to play rather than a few one-sided games.
Maurice: "You're thinking about this from the perspective of a so-called weaker county and them progressing. At the same time does it not open up the idea that all of a sudden a team like Mayo, or Tyrone, or Monaghan, are not in fear of relegation ever again? They start to field lesser teams and it dilutes the whole competition."
"For example, what'll happen now in the new hurling league is a Westmeath or a Carlow will be lambs to the slaughter every year. The likes of Cork, Kilkenny will play weaker teams and it won't matter for them. At least football, Division One now, Dublin couldn't afford to slip up and they did against Tyrone. You open up a bigger margin for them to play bigger squads and dilute the whole thing."
Mark: It's a chicken and egg thing. Is there not that gap already? I know Donegal went last year, but two years ago Cavan and Tyrone went up. Cavan straight back down. Kildare went up last year, straight back down. This year looks like Roscommon and Cavan will go right back down. It's a gap, but it's not reflected. These teams are not completely out of depth. It just gives them an extra chance to stay up.
To listen to the full podcast, which includes Mayo star Sarah Rowe on life in Australia, Cavan Manager Mickey Graham on the surprising stats from April club month and Raymond Galligan on the new generation of goalkeeping, search 'Balls.ie' on any podcast platform.