Daly calls for All-Ireland overhaul

Clare 1-23 Dublin 0-9

The Clare manager wants Croke Park chiefs to introduce a league system with the top four proceeding to two semi-finals.

Daly’s Clare side went some way towards exorcising their Munster semi-final defeat by Tipperary with a comfortable win over Dublin in the first of their three All-Ireland qualifiers on Saturday.

When asked his opinion on the new two-group system Daly expressed himself more than happy, but wondered if the time hadn’t come to take what he clearly sees as the next logical step.

“Thank God somebody saw that one game after training since November isn’t a sensible route. I know everybody is giving out about last weekend (the Leinster semi-finals) but I really think they could come up with a better system, that we all could be in a league system.

“Let everybody play and the top four get into the All-Ireland semi-finals. I really think there is a market for Saturday night hurling there. I think you would have a great championship. Even if it meant a little bit of the gloss going off the Munster championship, so be it.

“I just feel there is a chance there for the GAA to bring hurling back. And here is a real chance there if they go for it. Will they go for change? They are slow to go for change in the GAA.”

Despite the 17-point gap between Clare and Dublin, Daly readily admitted that a repeat performance wouldn’t be enough against Waterford or even Offaly.

“In fairness to Dublin they have come a long way in a fortnight. We heard reports they were totally disorganised. It wasn’t really concerning us until we got the draw and then we had to focus on who we were playing.

“From our point of view, any sort of a win coming up was what we were looking for and we got that. I think there was encouraging signs for Dublin as well. When you do organise and you do get a bit of balance to your team you know you can compete - I thought they competed very well.”

Occupying Daly’s mind for much of the week ahead will be his side’s ongoing shortcomings in the goal-scoring department, although Daithi O’Connell’s slightly fortunate effort 15 seconds after the restart pretty much quelled Dublin’s uprising in the second quarter.

Apart from that, Dublin goalkeeper Gary Maguire made a handful of impressive stops, but Daly’s worries in that area are unavoidable when paired with the evidence from the Gaelic Grounds.

“But there were a good lot of positives even though we know that probably wouldn’t do against Offaly, but coming up here it is hard to get fellas a hundred percent tuned in. Everyone is telling you you’ll win and the bookies are telling you that you are one hundred to one on. It seeps into fellas heads no matter what you say.”

DUBLIN: G Maguire; G O’Meara, S Hiney, J Cullen; D O’Reily, R Fallon (0-1f), D Sweeney; T Moore, M Carton; S McDonald, D Curtin (0-5f), D Russell; E Carroll, L Ryan, K Flynn (0-2, 1f).

Subs: T Sweeney for McDonald 34, E Moran for Curtin 43, P Carton (0-1) for Ryan 47, S Mullen for M Carton 65.

CLARE: D Fitzgerald; F Lohan, B Lohan, B Quinn; A Markham, S McMahon (0-1), G Quinn; B O’Connell (0-1), D Forde (0-2); D McMahon (0-4), T Griffin (0-2), C Forde; T Carmody (0-5), N Gilligan (0-6, 3f), D O’Connell (1-0).

Subs: C Plunkett for Markham 37, D Hoey for G Quinn, 59, A Quinn for Griffin 59, D Clancy (0-1) for O’Connell 60, D O’Rourke (0-1) for O’Connell 65.

Referee: D Murphy (Wexford).

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