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Dublin: 3°C Friday 14 May 2021

'I think it's a bit too big and unwieldy' - call for Dublin football championship revamp

Jack McCaffrey feels there are too many teams competing at senior level in the capital.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

DUBLIN FOOTBALLER JACK McCaffrey believes the senior championship format in the county is in need of a revamp.

The 2015 Footballer of the Year missed out on his club Clontarf’s opening round match last month due to an injury sustained for Dublin against Monaghan in the league.

Clontarf lost out to Thomas Davis by 0-18 to 1-7 and the knockout nature of the Dublin senior system means their 2017 championship campaign ended in April, along with 15 other clubs.

2016 All-Ireland club champions Ballyboden St-Enda’s were amongst the teams to bow out at the opening hurdle with defeat against St Oliver Plunkett’s-Eoghan Ruadh.

The second round commences tonight with only eight teams set to be left in contention after Saturday night and the quarter-finals are unlikely to take place for a few months due to Dublin’s senior inter-county campaign.

The volume of teams (32 in total) operating at senior football level has also drawn criticism.

There were several one-sided games in the opening round last month, most notably with Kilmacud Crokes hitting ten goals en route to a 35-point win over Erins Isle.


“In other counties there are round-robins and even the hurling here (in Dublin) has round-robins in the first-round,” says McCaffrey.

“I suppose there are some attractions to these first-round knock-out ties, pure championship football.

Colm Basquel on the attack Ballyboden St-Enda's clashed with St Oliver Plunkett's Eoghan Ruadh last month Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“It’s finished for Clontarf unfortunately. It is a bit mad that there’s a long wait for club players for games.

“I’d probably think that 32 senior teams in it, that’s probably a few too many.

“For years Clontarf were one of the many clubs that were set up for a hiding in the first round every year.

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“Now that hasn’t been the case, we were beaten this year, but we’re not the push-overs that we once were.

“I would have loved to play (against Thomas Davis) or be on the bench and try out the hammer that day but it just wasn’t doable.

“I think it’s a bit too big and unwieldy and probably should be looked at (being) changed some how.”

With his inter-county commitments – Dublin begin their championship on Saturday 3 June – McCaffrey is restricted from club action, which is more irritating this season after Clontarf had secured promotion to Division 1 of the league in Dublin.

2017 AIB All-Ireland Football Championship Launch Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

“To be honest, I don’t know how to fix it. I’d love to play every game for my club. I know that’s not practically possible.

“We’re in a different position from a lot of clubs in so far as we’re just up into Division 1 so the league is probably our priority more than the championship.

“We’d obviously love to win anything, but the league games that aren’t too important for other players and their clubs, for me they’re the more important games so it’s a bit annoying that way.

“Shortening the season seems to be (the way to help), which is something that’s coming our way.

“That obviously allows more time for club stuff. Anything that can be done to facilitate playing a bit more with the club is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.”

Source: The42 GAA/SoundCloud

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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