Clare football manager Colm Collins has reiterated his opposition to the Super 8 format, describing the new structure as a “cynical exercise in collecting more money”.
Collins isn’t a fan of the current championship format but fears the new proposals are any better in catering for the needs of the 32 counties.
Moreover, the Clare football manager wants the provincial championships abolished claiming many “are dying on their feet”.
He accepts, however, that Croke Park top-brass would never wield the axe on the four provincial competitions.
“Finance is the stumbling block to doing away with the provincial championships, but if the finance is divided pro rata to each of the provincial councils, I don’t think it can be a big thing,” Collins said.
“I can see merit in people wanting to retain the Munster hurling championship because it is such a brilliant championship, but I think a lot of the other championships are dying on their feet.”
Collins’ proposal for championship reform would include binning the four provincial competitions and begin with eight groups of four. Each county would get three games, with the top two in each group advancing to the All-Ireland SFC proper which would be run on a straight knock-out basis. The bottom two teams would enter a B championship run concurrently to the top tier.
“Where the championship is broken, I think, is every one of the 32 teams don’t have a realistic chance to win a particular competition. I believe in a secondary competition, but not something thrown into a corner for Division 4 teams, that it would have a genuine status. The final would be played on All-Ireland final day and you would have All Stars, with a holiday for the winning team.
“Your position in the B or A championship would be based on your form in that year. It would also give a realistic goal to teams that are trying to improve to win. The fact of the matter, however, is the provincials are not going to be abolished. That’s the fly in the ointment.”
Returning to the Super 8 format, Collins labelled the brainchild of Páraic Duffy as “ridiculous”. He said: “I don’t know of any sport that has round-robin at the final stage. It is ridiculous. I think it is a cynical exercise in collecting more money. It is going to make the strong stronger. But it is in now, we’ll embrace it and we’ll play in it.”
Meanwhile, the progression of the county’s minor team to a first Munster final since 1994 makes Clare football an easier sell to young dual players, according to their manager Seamus Clancy.
“We have a lot of dual players in the county, especially in Mid Clare where most of the population is centred, and traditionally, the dual player would be veering towards hurling.
“Getting to a Munster final makes Clare football more attractive and these upcoming players can see what can be achieved by going in with a Clare minor football team,” said Clancy.
He added: “Part of our problem in Clare is we are relying on our senior team to develop players, whereas this group will be more developed when they push on to U20 on account of the number of games they’ll have got this year and the time they spent together.”
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