This is the season within seasons …
- its the championship season for both hurling and football
- every village in Ireland has its bunting up in support of their team
- everyone is talking about “their chances this year”
- but half of the counties are already bemoaning their early exits
- its already the height of the tourism season
- and every village is freshly painted, with fresh flower beds and signs
- everyone is talking about the Tidy Towns competition
- and their hopes for their “business prospects this year”
Fáilte Ireland have announced record figures for visitors, so someone must be making money. But the only ‘downer’ is the early exits from the championships for 16 of the 32 counties … and 8 will be out completely after the first round of qualifiers !
Its just not good enough … its usually the same 16 counties each year !
- In football, 13 counties have never won an All-Ireland SF Championship
- In hurling, 21 counties have never won an All-Ireland SH Championship
- And its unlikely to change as only the successful counties attract BIG sponsorship
- And attendances are unlikely to increase either
So, the GAA have to do something about it and they have to do it now … while they still have the power to do so because sometime very soon, the big-spending TV sponsors and their advertisers will be telling them what to do, how to do it, when to do it and where to do it !
By having a champions league format of 8 groups of 4, seeded by National League position, the GAA could guarantee each county 14 competitive games per championship season (7 in each code).
- This would give the players something to look forward to
- This would give the fans of the less successful counties something better
- A guarantee of 6 home games (3 in each code) would give local business something too
- And the local sponsors
- And the tourists
- And the TV channels and their advertisers
The seeding would re-invigorate the National Leagues and running an All-Ireland B competition for the 3rd/4th placed teams would give them a guaranteed seventh game – 3rd placed teams in the groups play at home.
- The chance of winning an “All-Ireland B” title would, in my opinion, more than make up for the demise of the provincial championships where some counties can play 2 games and call themselves champions.
What can we do ?
- GAA club secretaries should write into GAA HQ requesting a change
- GAA county boards should do likewise
- Every GAA fan in the country (and abroad) should email them here
- Then share this post on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platform you can think of