A DUBLIN motion aimed at securing a second chance for provincial champions if they lose at the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final stage has been passed at the county’s annual convention.
The St Olaf’s proposal could now appear on the official Clár at next year’s annual GAA Congress after delegates voted unanimously in favour of the idea at Dublin GAA’s annual think-tank on Monday evening.
Dublin county board chairman Gerry Harrington intends to bring the motion to Congress in Newcastle, Co. Down next April, subject to approval from the GAA’s motions committee.
The Dublin motion would see the four provincial winners playing off against each other in two quarter-finals, with the winners advancing to the last four of the championship.
The two losers would then battle it out with two teams from the All-Ireland qualifiers in the two remaining quarter-finals for the remaining two semi-final spots on offer.
The idea from the capital would effectively add another round of qualifiers, with the original number of teams advancing through the back door cut from four to two.
Under present structures, provincial winners exit the championship immediately if they are knocked out at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage. This new system would give them a second chance as they are deemed vulnerable due to the time lapse between provincial finals and the All-Ireland series.
Indeed, the proposal would see some teams play two quarter-finals — an initial clash against a fellow provincial champion and if they lose that, a game against a team from the qualifiers.
Provincial champions Dublin and Mayo both succumbed at the last eight in 2009, while Ulster winners Tyrone struggled past Kildare. Cork were the only provincial winners to comfortably win their quarter-final as they crushed a Donegal team running on empty after their hectic qualifier run.
The Dublin motion hopes to clear up these discrepancies within the current structures.
Although the two provincial winners who advance to the semi-finals still face a possible championship exit after just one defeat, they will have benefited from a tough match against one of their fellow provincial kingpins.
Harrington, who has been elected unopposed for another term, insisted: “Something has to be done. You have counties free between winning their provincial championships before coming out and playing a qualifier team.
“You could have a gap of four weeks there whereas the qualifier teams are playing right through that period.
“The St Olaf’s club felt there needs to be some tidying up and this motion has been passed unanimously and we will now be bringing it to Congress.”
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