Demands to reconfigure competition structures in the GAA have been gently simmering away for the past number of years. But this year, the discussion was everywhere.
A number of one sided fixtures took place during the Championship which made for difficult viewing and left supporters feeling despondent. Dublin scorched a path through the Leinster championship with comprehensive wins over Longford and Kildare while Mayo devoured Sligo in Connacht.
It's clear that GAA followers want change and the Gaelic Players Association believe they have the answer with a recommendation for revamping the structures that will hopefully facilitate higher standards of equal competition.
The GPA propose a new All-Ireland series consisting of 32 teams divided into eight groups in a system which replicates the wonderful old cliché of the 'Champions League format'. The seedings in each group will be determined by NFL standings and provincial championships.
A working group was formed to supervise the project and extensive consultations were held with players and county panels as part of it. Speaking about the new proposal, GPA Chief Executive Officer Dessie Farrell said:
This proposal, developed in consultation with players, aims to tackle the concerns raised in relation to the current structure.
These changes will improve the welfare of the player by tightening the competition calendar, improving the games to training ratio and enhancing the playing experience at club and county level. This proposal can help unlock the potential of our inter-county football competition from a number of important perspectives.
A considerable number of county squads support the introduction of this proposal as a replacement for the current system. Counties were also asked for feedback about the inclusion of a secondary competition and interestingly, the suggestion was rejected by the majority of respondents.
In addition to promoting better competition between competing inter-county teams, the GPA insist that the club fixture schedules will also benefit from this new system.
The players’ body is recommending that this new format be trialled over a two-year period followed by a review.
You can view the entire proposal in full here: