Now just one Division 2 ticket in proposed combination of football league and championship

One of the proposals for a new-look championship has been tweaked
Now just one Division 2 ticket in proposed combination of football league and championship

19 December 2020; Michael Darragh MacAuley of Dublin lifts the Sam Maguire Cup the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

There has been a change to the League-based All-Ireland SFC proposal whereby the top five teams from Division 1 and only the top Division 2 team progress directly to the All-Ireland quarter-finals. The original recommendation was that the top four in Division 1 and top two in Division 2 advance straight to the quarter-finals.

The proposal to move the National League to summertime and form the basis of the All-Ireland SFC, with the provincial championships retained as separate entities run off earlier in the season, is one of two options to reform the football championship that is due to be voted on at Congress next month.

The original proposal of the fixture calendar review task force, unveiled in November of 2019, recommended that the top four teams in Division 1 and top two teams in Division 2 progress directly to the All-Ireland quarter-finals, with the remaining two quarter-final berths decided by preliminary quarter-finals involving the top team in Divisions 3 and 4 and the teams placed third and fourth in Division 2.

This was amended in November of 2020 when the task force decided that the fifth-placed team in Division 1, rather than the fourth-placed team in Division 2, would qualify for the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-finals.

The Irish Examiner has now learned of a further change to the proposal with the fifth-placed team from Division 1 to go straight into the All-Ireland quarter-finals instead of the second-placed team in Division 2.

What it means is that there will only be one direct ticket to the quarter-finals available to teams in Division 2, whereas all but three teams in Division 1 will be involved in the last eight of the All-Ireland championship.

Under this updated proposal, the two preliminary quarter-finals will be contested by the second and third-placed teams in Division 2 and the top teams in Division 3 and 4.

The other blueprint on the table involves rebalancing the existing provincial structure, with one Ulster county and three from Leinster moving to Munster and Connacht respectively to form four conferences of eight.

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