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Championship Overhaul

July 29, 2013

The GAA have asked for proposals with regards to revamping the championship. I have put together a proposal that could be very beneficial in terms of making the championship a more level playing field with a wholly different draw annually. While maybe not the finished article I feel that there are merits with this proposal, both financially and for the good the expansion of the game especially amongst the so called “Weaker Counties”

The following is a proposal for a radical overhaul of the All-Ireland series. Under the current league and championship format a county is guaranteed a minimum of 9 games in a year (7 league and 2 championship outings). The proposal is to do away with the National Football League altogether and begin the year with the Provincial Championships, albeit in an entirely different format.

Dispensing with the leagues looks like a loss of revenue but under the new proposals all county teams will be guaranteed at least 10 games (5 home and 5 away) before their year comes to a conclusion. An agreed percentage share of the gates amongst counties up until the All-Ireland quarter finals could be sorted out so that County Boards and the 4 Regional Councils will not be losing out on revenue.

A mainstay of the proposal is that the lower ranked counties will always be given home advantage first in their matches with higher ranked opponents.

PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Retaining the Provincial Championships is a must as it is from them that the seedings for the All-Ireland championship groupings would be determined. Also there are counties out there that would love to capture a Provincial title. Each year there would be a new draw and new groupings thus expanding the appeal of the championship from a competitive and marketing point of view.

The GAA Year would begin as usual in March with the Provincial Championships under a new format that would see Provincial Groupings of 3 teams in each group. Each team would play each other, home and away (4 matches) with the top teams in each group qualifying for the Provincial semi-finals. The Group winner in Munster & Connacht would play the Runner-up of the other group in their respective Provincial semi-finals. In Ulster the fourth best team, based on results would join the 3 Group winners to make up the semi- finals which would be open drawn. In Leinster I have included Kilkenny to make up 12 teams to have 4×3 Groups. If Kilkenny were willing to participate, and in order to promote the game in the county, they should be included in a seeded group that includes the other weakest 2 teams in the Province.  In the event of that not being accepted by Kilkenny (or the other Leinster Counties) you would have 2 x4 team Groups and 1×3 team Groups for Leinster with the 3 group winners and next best contesting the semi-finals. All four Provinces would then finish their respective competitions before the All-Ireland series commences.

Respective Provincial Champions could be funded to play against the affiliated exiled GAA Associations throughout the world on a rotation basis, if it was feasible.

ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONSHIP

The Quest for Sam Maguire would commence with a live televised Championship draw. The Provincial winners and runner-up would each be the seeded teams in the 8 groups for the Championship. The remaining 24 teams (who could be seeded or not) would then in turn be drawn to a group to make 8×4 Championship Groups.

Each team would play each other Home & Away (6 Matches) with the top two teams in each group qualifying for the knock-out stages of the championship. The Championship Group Winner would be drawn against a Championship Runner-up. The 8 quarter finalists would then be open drawn as would be the semi-finals.

Example

MUNSTER

GROUP ONE

KERRY

LIMERICK

CLARE

GROUP TWO

CORK

TIPPERARY

WATERFORD

CONNACHT

GROUP ONE

MAYO

SLIGO

LEITRIM

GROUP TWO

GALWAY

ROSCOMMON

LONDON

ULSTER

GROUP ONE

DOWN

ARMAGH

ANTRIM

GROUP TWO

DONEGAL

DERRY

FERMANAGH

GROUP THREE

TYRONE

MONAGHAN

CAVAN

LEINSTER

GROUP ONE

DUBLIN

LAOIS

WEXFORD

GROUP TWO

MEATH

KILDARE

LOUTH

GROUP THREE

WESTMEATH

LONGFORD

OFFALY

GROUP FOUR

WICKLOW

CARLOW

KILKENNY

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