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Dessie Farrell - 'Hurling is in a really strong place at the minute, football is lagging way behind'

The GPA chief offers his views on where change is needed in Gaelic football.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

GPA BOSS DESSIE Farrell insists that there is an urgent for reform in the current inter-county Gaelic football structures.

Farrell believes that while hurling is in a position of strength, Gaelic football needs change and the provincial championship structures must be altered.

Here’s the 1995 Dublin All-Ireland winner and players boss views on the current hot topic in the GAA.

1. The need for change

“I just firmly believe the championship structure need to change. It’s our premier competition and I don’t think we are maximising the potential within it.

“Hurling is in a really strong place at the minute, football is lagging way behind.

“Any changes that come about that still retain the provincial structure are only moving the deck chairs around. It’s time to grab the nettle and make a serious change.”

“It was a long time since I was at Central Council but it came up for discussion (recently) and it was encouraging the views of some of the members of Central Council in relation to the prospect of change.

2. Obstacles to changing the championship

“The big obstacle in any serious change is the provincial competition structure. There would tend to be a reluctance to want to tinker with that.

“But my sense is – and talking to more and more players – that the provincial system is the major stumbling block and we need to overcome that in some way.

“This is a football issue as far as I’m concerned. Definitely, Ulster football, there would be good competition there and probably a fear that you might dilute what you have up there.

Dessie Farrell GPA CEO Dessie Farrell Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

3. The input of players

“We’re going to canvas our players in relation to this. We’ll be doing that within the next fortnight. We’ve already done some of it in the past two years.

“There’s definitely a strong sense amongst the football county players that it needs to change. What that change looks like, does vary depending on what county you play with, your level of ambition and what you can realistically expect to achieve.

“We’re going to bring forward a particular model that we’ve been working on ourselves and run that by our own membership first.

“As I indicated at Central Council the last day, we’re going to bring a proposal forward to Central Council then in the course of the next couple of weeks and months.

Diarmuid Connolly celebrates scoring the opening goal Dublin were far too strong for Longford last Sunday Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

4. Bringing in a tiered championship

“The two tier one is interesting. I think it depends on what proposal you out forward. The Tommy Murphy Cup, on its own, the way it was run previously, I don’t think there is a massive appetite for that.

“Could you introduce a second competition whereby both finals were played on the one day here on the third week in September?

“I think that would hold more appeal.”

Peter Creedon shakes hands with Tom McGlinchey Tipperary boss Peter Creedon with Waterford manager Tom McGlinchey last Sunday. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

5. Getting a change through Congress

“I’m not sure the mechanics of how it works. What we’ve committed to doing is with the GAA leadership and Central Council, there will probably be a discussion around that time what the way forward is.

“And I think it’s important that the players’ views are heard in that debate.

“I think the one thing about Aogán O’Farrell and Pauraic Duffy is, they’re very keen to engage on this issue.

“I got that sense from Central Council the next day. But they did say, it’s all well and good saying change needs to happen but you need to be coming forward with the solutions to the problem.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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