Carlow senior football manager Turlough O’Brien has called on GAA chiefs to admit defeat and ditch plans for a ‘B’ championship.
O’Brien, who is taking his team to London for today’s Allianz League Division 4 clash, believes the controversial proposals will be withdrawn and won’t make the Clár for Annual Congress this month.
The GPA released a hard-hitting statement yesterday, indicating counties will refuse to play in a ‘B’ championship if it’s introduced. Already, O’Brien believes plans to exclude Division 4 teams from the All-Ireland qualifiers is creating “panic” in the two lower tiers. Division 3 teams are desperate to avoid relegation and similarly, Division 4 outfits are hellbent on gaining promotion.
O’Brien said: “My gut feeling is it’s going to be withdrawn. There’s so much opposition and I can’t see them going ahead. It’s counter-productive,they’re letting themselves down by putting it forward. It’s madness, it’s just not going to happen, it’s creating panic.”
When asked if the GAA should simply abandon plans for a ‘B’ competition, O’Brien replied: “I think it would be the most practical thing to do. They know now that nobody’s in favour of it.”
Wexford boss David Power echoed the sentiments of O’Brien and the GPA: “I was even talking to Cork manager Peadar Healy the other day and he can’t get over it.
“It won’t affect the likes of Cork ever really but he doesn’t see any sense in what they’re trying to do.”
Power, who guided his native Tipperary to All-Ireland minor glory in 2011, is in favour of a seeded, Champions League style championship.
He said “I would go on the basis of seeding teams depending on their divisions. Division 1 teams in pot one and so on. Four teams in each group, the top two going into the Sam Maguire and the bottom two in a,say, Tommy Murphy Cup.
“Then, each team is guaranteed at least four matches and you won’t have a situation where a county could be waiting around for five weeks without a match. The dates are crazy and there’s no proper structure but at least with a Champions League format, you’d be able to tell clubs in all counties, look, this is what’s happening.”
Former London boss Paul Coggins added: “I think more thought needs to be put into it and for officials to take heed of what Division 4 teams are saying. There has to be something better than just a ‘B’ championship where you’ve no chance of getting back into that year’s All-Ireland.
“I’d like to see a system where Division 4 and maybe Division 3 teams would enter a group championship if they got knocked out at provincial level. The finalists of that separate championship would then be given the chance to re-enter the championship proper at the last-16 stage.
“(Former Donegal boss) Jim McGuinness has proposed something like this already.”
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