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Lee Keegan Explains Why GAA Have Made A Mistake With New All-Ireland Format

Lee Keegan Explains Why GAA Have Made A Mistake With New All-Ireland Format
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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Once the four provincial finals are played over the next couple of weeks, we will finally be given a proper look at the biggest change to championship format that we have seen in recent memory.

Supporters and commentators have been calling out for some sort of round robin format for a number of years now, something that will be used for the first time in 2023. The 16 teams competing for the Sam Maguire will be divided into four group, meaning each team will be guaranteed at least three games in the All-Ireland series.

The draw made earlier this week gave us an idea as to what those groups will look like, only adding to the excitement of what is to come.

While it should contribute to an intriguing summer, some feel that there are still some things that need ironing out in the new format.

Lee Keegan thinks GAA made mistake with new format


One issue with the new format is that only one team from each group will be eliminated from the championship after the round robin is completed. Instead of going for a straight forward format that would see the top two teams advance to the quarter-finals, the GAA have opted to introduce preliminary quarter-finals that also feature the third-placed teams.

Their reasoning behind this move was to minimise the amount of dead rubber games that would take place, although not all are convinced it was the right decision.

Writing in his column on RTÉ, Lee Keegan said that three teams advancing from the group is something that the GAA need to look at moving forward.


Although it was a week or so earlier than it needed to be, the draw for the All-Ireland group stage generated a nice bit of excitement and threw out some intriguing possibilities.

Personally, I still think it would have made more sense to hold it once all the provincial championships were settled, at least to clear up any confusion...

Galway's reward for winning the province would involve being thrown into the 'Group of Death', insofar as there is one.

In reality, the fact that three teams survive the group phase negates the notion of a Group of Death.

I must admit I don't get the concept of a preliminary quarter-final. We're playing 24 matches to eliminate four teams!

In the context of a congested calendar, it just strikes me as madness to introduce this safety net where it's not necessary. It feels we're cramming so many games in for the sake of it. I think it's crazy.

Common sense would indicate that where you've four groups of four, two teams progress to the quarter-finals and the bottom two are gone. End of story.

I know the argument is that it prevents against dead rubbers but they've wound up diluting the group stage as a whole.

I'd give kudos to the GAA for changing the structure overall - this format is a step forward on previous seasons - but there are still tweaks needed here or there before 2024.

It's difficult to argue against Keegan's opinion here.

Having only two teams advancing would a huge amount of jeopardy to the groups and would lead to some massive games before we even reached the quarter-final stage. Instead, many teams now know that they are all but certain to go through by winning just one of their three games.

If the GAA are serious about making this new format work, this is something they need to look at.


SEE ALSO: Paul Flynn Not Having Glenn Ryan's 'Narky' Comments About Dublin Croke Park Advantage

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