Brudair: Give basement teams a ‘B’ championship

Limerick football manager John Brudair is in favour of the Treaty men ditching the All-Ireland championship in favour of a B competition.

Only four teams competing in Division 3 of the league have reached the All-Ireland quarter-finals in the past five years — Roscommon (2010), Limerick (2011), Cavan and Monaghan (both 2013) — and Brudair says teams operating in the basement divisions have little incentive come summer as prospects of achieving either provincial success or securing an All-Ireland quarter-final berth are extremely slim.

The Limerick boss supports proposals for a second-tier structure which incorporates the provincial championships and where the winners of the B competition qualify for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

“Everybody will say the championship is the most important thing and it is. For Division 3 teams, the reality is, however, that unless one is very lucky, they’re not going to win their provincial championship or compete in the last four of the All-Ireland series,” Brudair noted.

“I think there probably will be some type of experiment in terms of a different form of championship at some stage, because nearly every year you can pick six of the eight teams that are going to make the quarter-finals, which becomes a bit predictable.

“If a format could be thought up that gives impetus to the Division 3 and 4 teams to maybe experience playing in the quarter/semi-final of an All-Ireland by winning a second competition, that’d be great.”

Limerick reached successive Munster finals in 2009 and 2010, figuring in the last eight in 2011, but Brudair insists the county can no longer turn up its nose to suggestions of a B championship.

“I wouldn’t be against it. I thought the league was brilliant for us this year. It taught us a lot. It’s seven consistent games on a regular basis, so you can really build momentum and build your team. I don’t know if you can do the same in the championship.

“It would be great for Limerick to have something to aspire to win come championship. Now, is it realistic for them to aspire to win the All-Ireland? I don’t think so in the next year or two. In the next five years, probably, whereas if there was a competition between Division 3 and Division 4 teams, they could possibly aspire to win that.

“You like to progress and develop the whole time, but you also want to win something at the end of the day.”

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