GPA will respond strongly to "Super 8" snub, says Earley

Dermot Earley (pictured) has indicated the GPA will respond strongly to Congress’ decision to ignore their plea to vote down the “Super 8” All-Ireland senior football championship format, writes John Fogarty.

After a second successive Congress snub, the body’s chief executive accepts the 74% backing of it was another “slap in the face” after they had their own championship blueprint dismissed last year.

Earley did not rule in or out the possibility of a strike but said the matter will be discussed by the national executive and he will operate “on the mandate of the players”.

He said: “I think we’ll stand up fairly well for ourselves. We’ll wait for the mandate of the players. It is very disappointing; it is disappointing that the players’ opinions were ignored and I think you’ll see the reaction over the next week. Even already we’ve seen the reaction from players coming out saying how disappointed they are that their voice, in the competition that affects them the most, is ignored.

“Yes, it is a slap in the face. We will take the decision of our players as to our next step forward. Even though this decision is in for three years, we can go away and work on something that is better, that has the backing of the players, that has the backing of all the stakeholders.”

Earley is of the mind that the “Super 8” format is an elitist one. Referring to a statistic produced by Jarlath Burns during yesterday’s discussion on it, he said: “I think it is (elitist). I know Jarlath said it about 23 different teams in the last 16 years that have made it to the quarter-finals. But let’s see over the next three years who are the four teams that make it to the semi-finals. I think we’ll see that they will all be the same, or pretty much.

“There is always a chance of catching a team on a day. that big knock-out. But there won’t be a second and there won’t be a third chance. I just feel know that it’s an elite four we’ll end up with. A ‘Super 4’, whatever you want to call it.”

The former Kildare footballer did have cause to smile about the GPA and Cork being the only speakers against the “Super 8” blueprint. “If you look at the history, it was a bit of a surprise it was Cork as well supporting the GPA. But we welcome that. For one night only, maybe. That was positive. When it was only one county that only spoke up not in favour of the proposal, it was very clear (it would pass).

“The work was done before this by the GAA.

They had canvassed and gone out to the county boards so it was always going to be a difficult sell. I just felt that the voice of the players was totally ignored in there. No matter what proposal is brought again to the floor of Congress, it has to get support before it gets to Congress.

Because if you’re trying to fight something on the floor of Congress you’re probably losing.”

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