We need a pair of 'rattling good' semis to finally ignite football championship - Evans

Former Roscommon, Tipperary, and Wicklow manager John Evans is also extremely critical of the condensed nature of this year’s championship.
We need a pair of 'rattling good' semis to finally ignite football championship - Evans

ALL TO PLAY FOR: David Clifford of Kerry call for a mark. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Two “rattling good” All-Ireland semi-finals are required to rescue what has been a drab and disappointing football championship.

That’s according to former Roscommon, Tipperary, and Wicklow manager John Evans, who is also extremely critical of the condensed nature of this year’s championship.

Outside of the Galway-Armagh All-Ireland quarter-final, a game decided by penalties, and Derry’s march to a first Ulster crown in 24 years, Evans lamented a football championship devoid of drama.

It has also been a championship lacking in competitiveness, he added, summed up by an average winning margin of 11 points across the Kerry-Mayo, Dublin-Cork, and Derry-Clare All-Ireland quarter-finals.

11 points was also the average winning margin in the Leinster championship, 10 in Munster, and eight in both Connacht and Ulster.

Of the 41 championship games played, only nine finished with three points or less separating the teams.

“The standard hasn't been great. I am hoping this weekend will give us some bit of a lift, some bit of excitement, and some bit of drama. We could do with a bit of drama,” said Killorglin native Evans.

“We do need two rattling good games this weekend, and I think you will get two good games. But they are badly needed to rescue the season, and the authorities in Croke Park know that, as well.

“Munster and Leinster were a stroll for Kerry and Dublin. Roscommon and Mayo disappointed in Connacht. Ulster was the only province that delivered a few shocks and put a bit of vitality into it and that all came from Derry.” 

With only two weekends left in the football championship, Evans, who is involved with Cork club Cill na Martra this season, would much prefer if the inter-county calendar stretched out by another four weeks to mid-August.

“The season is condensed too much. While it is for the benefit of the clubs, not too many county championships have started yet and a good few of the senior championships won't be starting, certainly in Kerry, until the end of August.

“From the exposure side, we are giving up August. And it isn't just the All-Ireland senior championship, we have squeezed the minor, U20s, and Tailteann Cup. It is very condensed.

“We could extend it out by at least four weeks. If we could go back to the middle of August, it would get rid of this thing of taking penalties in an All-Ireland quarter-final. I wouldn't favour that.” Evans is predicting a Kerry victory on Sunday, even if Con O’Callaghan and James McCarthy are available to Dublin.

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