Michael Quinn: Time for major championship overhaul

Longford’s Michael Quinn believes it’s time for a major championship overhaul and hasn’t ruled out the notion of a county like his own moving into neighbouring Connacht.

The former Aussis Rules player noted that before he returned from Australia in late 2011, his county had won just four championship games in five seasons, lowering morale and interest.

The Gaelic Players Association has put forward a proposal on behalf of inter-county players calling for a new 32-team championship format based on seeded groups.

Another suggestion which has been made in recent seasons is that certain counties could switch provinces, with Longford situated close to Connacht where they may be more competitive.

“We probably talked about Longford going into the Connacht championship, there was mention of that before,” noted Quinn. “The traditionalist view is that we are a Leinster team. But I think if you want to progress and keep Gaelic football improving the way it is (you have to be open minded).

“You look back at the speed of a game now, compared to even 10 years ago, and it’s huge now. If you want to keep improving and that excitement to be there, you have to look at different options. It (moving to Connacht) could be an option though some people don’t want to lose that history and tradition.

“We’ve been lucky enough to win a few first round games but before I came back from Australia, it was nearly five years without a first round win. They’re not stats you want to be looking back on.

“At the end of the day, everyone can’t be a winner but there needs to be some sort of change, people have to be open to it.”

Quinn’s club, Killoe Emmet Og, have also experienced an upturn in fortunes since his return home with three of their overall 11 county titles won in that period, the latest arriving this season. On Sunday, they will face St James of Wexford in the Leinster club championship.

Quinn is keen to push on his province with the ambitious club, noting that while Dublin are significantly ahead of the rest of their Leinster rivals at county level, it is possible at club level for a provincial team to win big.

“Yeah, I think so,” said Quinn. “There is that romance of the club competition that on any given day, there is more of a chance than there is at county level and we definitely feel that. Hopefully we can get a run and we could push on in Leinster, win a couple of games and push for a Leinster title.

“After winning the county title the first and second times a couple of years ago, you naturally look to go a bit further now. When we lost in Longford in 2013, that was a wake up call for us. The hardest thing is getting out of your county and we learned that from 2013 but last year we got back again and probably the experience is coming to the fore again.”


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