Tipperary football defender Jimmy Feehan fears it will be an “absolute disaster” if a B championship is introduced to Gaelic football.
The Annual Congress gathering in Carlow later this month will vote on a proposal to amend the Championship by including Division 4 teams in an alternative B championship once they exit their provincial campaigns.
The reward for winning the second tier competition will be a place in the following season’s qualifiers though Feehan, part of a Tipp side currently operating in Division 3, claimed it’s a terrible idea that won’t work.
“I think the B championship would be an absolute disaster for whatever counties are involved in it,” said Feehan.
“It’s not right. I don’t think it’s right. If you’re playing on a county senior team, you want to be playing against the best players.
“You want to be given that chance against top opposition so to be playing just against Division 4 teams, you’re throwing them out in the cold really.”
The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) has stated in advance of the crucial Congress vote that if the B championship is brought in “county teams directly affected” will not participate in the tournament.
That could yet include Tipp depending on how they fare in the league though they are currently sitting pretty in second position in Division 3.
“It’d be hard to see why you’d be staying around playing,” continued Feehan at the launch of the EirGrid U21 football championship.
“It’s not very attractive — playing in a B championship. It’s nothing to be talked about, is it? You don’t want to be playing in a B competition, you want to be up there trying to get to the top table.”
The mere suggestion of Tipp being forced to participate in a future B championship would have seemed highly unlikely just months ago.
The county competed in last year’s All-Ireland U21 final final and entered the senior Championship as dark horses for a lengthy campaign.
But they ultimately suffered heavy defeats to Kerry and Tyrone and have since lost their midfield pairing of Colin O’Riordan (to the AFL) and Steven O’Brien (to hurling) as well as Seamus Kennedy to the small ball game.
Feehan added: “It’s a big loss to lose those voices but you can look at it another way, it gives other lads an opportunity to come in and step up and become leaders, lads that usually were quiet.
It’s a great opportunity for other lads to get their names out there and to get on the team-sheet.”
Feehan suggested that Tipp are in a good position to push for promotion to Division 2 and said that he has no general fears about standards slipping following the high-profile player departures.
“There wouldn’t be that fear,” he said. “You can’t use that as an excuse, you just have to drive on. “
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