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'Who's going to get within 15 points of Dublin?' Longford boss calls for new Leinster format

Jim Gavin’s side racked up a cricket score at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

LONGFORD MANAGER JACK SHEEDY has called for a review of the Leinster football championship after his side suffered a 27-point demolition at the hands of Jim Gavin’s Dublin at GAA HQ yesterday.

Inside the opening ten minutes of the game, the side from the capital had already racked up a nine-point lead and were in complete control. Playing in second gear for the majority of proceedings, the Dubs eventually won out on a scoreline of 4-25 to 0-10.

Speaking afterwards, Sheedy, who won four Leinster senior medals with Dublin, as well as an Allstar in 1994, questioned the merits of the provincial championship in its current guise.

Jim Gavin and Jack Sheedy Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“Who is going to get within 15 points of Dublin? Possibly Meath are the only team that are equipped to do that within Leinster. So you have a two-tier Championship and two teams, then 10 others, nine others. There’s no benefit to that. You have a similar situation in Munster.”

I think we have a fantastic game, a fantastic product – as people like to call it – but we’re getting away from…we’re losing people going to the games because it’s not attractive, it’s not interesting. There’s nothing big there to come and watch and it’s disappointing because we’ve gone away from the traditional values of what the game ​was about. I think we really need to review it.”

Longford manager Jack Sheedy speaking to the press yesterday in Croke Park. Source: Fintan O'Toole/The42.ie

Sheedy also feels that even though the summer isn’t over for his charges just yet and they’ll get to experience the qualifiers at least, the experience of coming to Croke Park and leaving with a substantial defeat benefits nobody.

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A dejected Cian Farrelly A dejected Cian Farrelly of Longford after the match. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“If we had the old system where we came here and got beaten by this score today, those guys were gone for the rest of the summer and that system didn’t help them. Now that we have one more game at least it’s of benefit to them. But coming here for that is of no great benefit to us or anybody else.

“I just think there’s a lot of very smart people involved in the GAA across the board, from management up to the powers that be in Croke Park itself. Why can’t we get all the heads together and look to improve it?”

“Somebody needs to grasp the nettle and say ‘let’s sit down and make it’ because it’s a fantastic sport. We have one of the best stadiums in the world let alone the country. Why don’t we look at making it a better spectacle and something that teams from a lower level can look at their teams being competitive and see their teams having a chance every time they tog out?

Paddy Collum after conceding his fourth goal of the game Longford goalkeeper Paddy Collum after conceding his fourth goal of the game. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

As Dublin confirmed their place in the semi-finals with minimum fuss, Sheedy feels that nothing will stop them from claiming another provincial title. And that’s to the detriment of the competition.

“I don’t see anyone taking them to the wire at the moment. So either take Dublin out of the Leinster championship, and leave it to the rest of us… The reality is there’s no one anywhere close. There has to be a new format, it needs to be reviewed.”

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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