Seán Kelly: Tiered All-Ireland structure would be 'magic bullet' for football




Former GAA president Seán Kelly believes a tiered All-Ireland senior football championship would help to provide “the magic bullet” solution for the competition, writes John Fogarty.

Kelly, who in 2012 proposed the championship be split into two after the completion of provincial activity, likes director general Páraic Duffy’s SFC plan but says it doesn't go far enough for weaker counties.

Writing in today’s Irish Examiner, the Kerry man endorses a version of his blueprint in combination with Duffy’s two four-team groups, with which he wishes to replace the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

“Run the championships exactly as proposed but instead of having all counties in qualifiers, have two tiers — the first top 16 (eight provincial finalists and then eight according to their league position) and then all the other counties in the second tier,” Kelly proposes.

“Have one knockout qualifier round, after which you will have eight teams left in each tier. Run the group stages for both tiers, exactly as proposed for tier 1, with regard to home games, no replays and such.” As Duffy outlines, the top two teams in each group would qualify for the All-Ireland semi-finals

Kelly believes counties would get behind a second tier championship providing its closing stages were played on the same bills or weekends as All-Ireland semi-finals and finals in Croke Park Although a motion calling for a tiered championship was withdrawn last year due to a lack of support, Wicklow this week backed the idea.

Kelly remarks: “We have to ask, though, why counties which are never going to win the Sam Maguire Cup are so anxious to be cannon fodder for the big boys year in year out? Are they masochists? Can it last? It can’t. I had a recent conversation with Waterford football manager Tom McGlinchey who said the League is now far more important to the weaker counties than the championship. Doesn’t that tell you something?”

More in this Section

Mourinho meets Spurs squad as new manager gears up for first gameMourinho meets Spurs squad as new manager gears up for first game

Champions Cork to face Westmeath in opening round of 2020 Ladies National Football LeagueChampions Cork to face Westmeath in opening round of 2020 Ladies National Football League

Shane Lowry hopes week's rest will help him in 'final push' for Race to Dubai titleShane Lowry hopes week's rest will help him in 'final push' for Race to Dubai title

General manager Wycherley to leave Cork CityGeneral manager Wycherley to leave Cork City


Lifestyle

It won’t come as news to mothers-to-be that they are not eating for two, as the old saying goes, but the number of extra calories needed may come as a surprise. And it’s much fewer than you might think.Eating for two: It's quality not quantity of food that matters during pregnancy

No. It is such a small word, yet at times, something many of us find difficult to utter. The inability to say no to work, friends or family can cause so much stress in our lived lives.Learning Points: Just say no, there’s power in that little word

Fiona Kelleher has set some of the works of Múscraí poets Seán Ó Riordáin and Séamus Ó Céilleachair to music, writes Pet O'ConnellPoetry and music combine in reimagining of works of Seán Ó Riordáin and Séamus Ó Céilleachair

I fear I might be getting to that stage with my daughter Joan, who is 8, whereby I am the needy one! I fear I might be getting to that stage with my daughter Joan, who is 8, whereby I am the needy one!Mum's the word: I’m the needy one... I get the kiss off from my own daughter!

More From The Irish Examiner