Recently, I read Jim McGuinness’ article in the Irish Times about the new proposals the GAA are implementing to change the football championship. I hadn’t really looked into the proposals until I had read the article but the muddled, complicated new championship proposals (with more loopholes than a rollercoaster) could destroy the competition in my view.
Was it not enough for the GAA to just wait until the three-year experiment of the super 8s was finished and review that before making any more drastic changes? The GAA championship has changed more in ten years than the previous hundred.
Each of the two new proposals will be radical. The first proposal will completely change the provincial championship with teams from Leinster going to Connacht and Munster and Ulster teams also going to Connacht, all this based on league performance. This basically tells me that the provincial championship will have lost all meaning.
The second proposal will be more of a league format with teams from division one, two and winners of three and four being given the chance to win the All-Ireland. It is not clear what the provincial championship will mean in this format, but its importance may be diminished.
You might be asking, why is the championship changing so soon again? I believe it’s one thing. Money. It’s all to do with their bottom line. It does not mean that the championship is not in need for a renovation. Dublin’s dominance of the Leinster championship makes it borderline unwatchable; Kerry are the big dogs in Munster; Connacht is a three-horse race and Ulster has never been more competitive.
The thing that has to be remembered is all of this is cyclical, and things will change. The underage is dominated by teams with not much success at senior level and the same goes for under 20s. Dublin lost the All-Ireland for the first time since 2014. People rush to conclusions, but sometimes you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
I believe that Dublin will always be the dominate force in Leinster and the same with Kerry in Munster; nothing will change that. Maybe a B championship would work, maybe not, but let’s not throw out a hundred years of tradition. Just because a problem is there now doesn’t mean it will always be, and changing the championship might not solve the problem.
More equal funding could be a solution and I have seen it work with the likes of Offaly in the under 20 championship and with Limerick in hurling. As I have said before there are no guarantees with this, but the more changes the GAA make the more unrecognizable it becomes and the further we stray from our history.