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Joe Brolly Calls For Three-Tier All-Ireland Football Championship

Joe Brolly Calls For Three-Tier All-Ireland Football Championship
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Joe Brolly called for the introduction of a three-tier football championship on last night's Sunday Game.

Brolly made the point following Roscommon's 14-point win against Leitrim in the Connacht Championship quarter-final.

"It's cruel what's happening," said Brolly, "and until teams like Leitrim are treated with the same respect in the association as Kerry and Dublin and Tyrone and Mayo, we do not have an equitable, fair association.

You look at Leitrim's Division 4 campaign which was terrific and fun. They played some terrific football at their level. It was their first time in Croke Park in 12 years. Emlyn Mulligan had never played there. Leitrim gaels from all over the world assembled in Croke Park.

And then you get this thoroughly deflating experience today which was absolutely inevitable. The sooner we get to a situation where we've got a competitive championship that mirrors the league. We need at least three tiers.

The Derryman believes that there is growing support for the introduction of a tiered championship. GAA president John Horan has championed its establishment. However, Brolly feels Horan's proposed two-tier system would not be sufficient.

His outline would see all three finals being held on the same day at Croke Park, similar to ladies football. That would undoubtedly result in an even crazier scramble for All-Ireland tickets than exists with the current system.


"Two tiers will not be enough," said Brolly,  "because the teams in Division 4 need that slightly special treatment - call it 'The Bomber Liston [Cup], The Mikey Sheehy [Cup], something like that - afford them respect, give them a vibrant championship where they play their All-Ireland on All-Ireland final day with the other two tiers and you've got a festival of football.

"It works brilliantly for the Ladies [LGFA]. They are so far ahead of us when it comes to this and there's no reason why it wouldn't work for us.

"Managers like Ciaran Deely from London, Jack Cooney from Westmeath - they're saying exactly what we all know to be the reality, 'Give us a vibrant championship at our level that is treated with respect and has the same money pumped into it where we're playing three All-Ireland finals on the same day in Croke Park.'


"I would say the argument is being won around the country. We've been talking about this for five or six years as the gulf has widened. I think the argument is being won but we're very slow in the GAA to start putting nuts and bolts on it."


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