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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018
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Poll: Should the GAA introduce a second tier football championship?

GAA president John Horan says he wants to explore the possibility of introducing a second tier competition.

GAA PRESIDENT JOHN Horan says he will explore the possibility of introducing a second tier football championship during his term in charge.

The gulf in quality between teams was highlighted once again this weekend after Dublin, Donegal and Kerry comfortably won their provincial deciders, and former GAA president Seán Kelly later claimed that there is an urgent need to address the imbalance.

“Cause for serious worry about the hammerings too many football teams are getting at all inter-county champioship levels,” he tweeted on Sunday night.

“Grading according to ability, with more than one tier essential. Otherwise there will be serious fall off in participation & attendances. Urgent!”

Horan accepts that there is a certain ‘resistance’ to such a change within the GAA, but has expressed an eagerness to assess the possibility of a second tier competition.

“I’ve already mentioned this in previous conversations that I’ve had with people that in my time I will look at a tier two championship,” he said on RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland during the All-Ireland SFC third-round qualifier draw.

“I think the qualifiers came in to give teams extra games and a second chance but even when you look at the draw today it’s still the stronger teams that are coming through into the latter stages of the championship.

“So it is on my agenda to have a look at a tier two championship, to engage with all the partners involved and see can we progress it.

There has been resistance in the organisation to that but I’m quite sure if we put it together properly we might get a buy-in.”

Horan also referred to the gap between teams at underage level following Kerry’s 3-22 0-1 victory over Waterford last week in the EirGrid Munster U20FC final.

The Dublin man stressed that the organisation is trying to address this problem.

“I accept there’s a major imbalance in those situations and our CCC committee have already started looking at how can we address these matters?

“We’re well aware of what’s going on on the ground, we’re not shying away from trying to deal with it and I would expect progress at minor and U20 level to try and see can we address those gaps that are there in the association.

One would hope to [see that progress in 2019]. This is the first year we’ve had the U20 championship and we’d be certainly looking at a full review of the impact of the U20 championship. And this is the first year we’ve gone back to U17 so if you look at it, we’ve made three steps already this year.

“We’ve brought in the quarter-final competitions with the last eight teams playing in round robin which is a new concept for us in the championship.

“We’ve brought the football back to U20, we’ve changed the timing of it within the year and we’ve also brought the minor back to U17.

“So, we’ve made a lot of changes, it’s not that we’re not aware of the situation on the ground, we are trying to address them and we are trying to make things more competitive.

“But you can’t just have a magic wand for these things either.”

Michael Quinn and Paul Cribbin Mickey Quinn in action against Kildare. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Longford star Mickey Quinn was also in studio for the draw. His side suffered a narrow defeat to Kildare in the qualifiers at the weekend, who now go on to face 2017 All-Ireland finalists Mayo.

Mayo would be considered the favourites to come through that fixture, but Quinn suspects that the Leinster side will pose problems for Stephen Rochford’s charges.

“They’ve got some key players, they’re a physical team so that’s massive to have that athleticism coming off the back of a game last weekend and a seven-day turnaround is always difficult so your panel and your squad is going to be tested.

They’ve the likes of Kev Feely coming off the bench which is a huge addition for them. The likes of Daniel Flynn and Paul Cribbin [are] definitely going to give Mayo something to think about.”

Should the GAA introduce a second tier football championship?


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