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'Disaster' and 'patronising' but is it finally time to introduce a two-tiered All-Ireland football championship?

A number of managers from counties struggling to make a breakthrough have had their say.

THE CALLS TO introduce a two-tiered All-Ireland senior football championship are sure to gather even more momentum after Dublin whipped Westmeath by 31 points at Croke Park in yesterday’s Leinster SFC semi-final.

However, there’s sure to be a mixed response if GAA chiefs decide to bite the bullet and split Gaelic Football’s summer season into A and B competitions.

The Sunday Game last night collated the views of managers from counties who find themselves some way short of the elite bracket.

Here are some of the responses:

Niall Carew – Sligo

“I wouldn’t be in favour of a B championship. It would be a disaster for football going forward. I think they should listen to players and managers, they’re listening to other people bar the people at the coalface.”

Gearoid Adams – Antrim joint-manager

“Once you go into a B championship, you’re basically second class. Do we want to make the top teams even better and we’re playing catch-up even further? The majority of the Antrim squad would enjoy an Ulster championship win rather than some secondary competition.”

Pat Flanagan – Offaly

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“Everybody should be offered the opportunity to play for the A championship – and the B championship should kick into the place then. There is a gap developing but that shouldn’t take away from our national game being segregated for one group of people.”

Damian Barton – Derry

“It’s rather patronising to suggest we’re second-class players. I’ve a notion that the championship should be knock-out. There’s a lot of things they need to worry about before they worry about a second-tier championship.”

Denis Connerton – Longford

“It’s very important that players compete in a competition they feel they can honestly win. I can’t remember any Division 4 or Division 3, maybe even a Division 2 team a lot of the time, winning an All-Ireland senior championship. We definitely need some change.”

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Peter Creedon – Laois

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“I’d be all for groups of four – the top two going to one particular championship and the bottom two to another championship. They all play off at the same time at the end of the year in Croke Park, the same date for semi-finals and finals. That’s what every inter-county player deserves – the opportunity to play before a big crowd in Croke Park.”

Tom Cribbin – Westmeath

“The team that wins it (B championship) would have to move into the senior championship that year. There has to be a serious reward for teams to get into it. You’d have some teams that wouldn’t want it and 10-12 it would bring on a lot.”

The idea of a route back into the A championship for the B winners seems like a good suggestion from Westmeath manager Cribbin but how would that fit into what’s an already congested fixtures calendar?

But we want to know what you think about the current football championship structures in this open thread.

It is time to introduce a B championship and, if so, how would that work?

Leave your feedback in the comments section below…

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