‘The top of the organisation is totally out of sync with grassroots’: Seven managers have their say on 'Super 8' debate

County managers have their say on the highest profile change made at the GAA’s Annual Congress...

Clare manager Colm Collins.
Clare manager Colm Collins.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin

“The first thing is we need to respect the decision that Congress has made; it’s a democratic decision made by all of the county delegates who represent the clubs. I think anything that’s good for club players and that’s the aim of it, I believe, to make more of a gap for club activities... you can only promote that. The proposals haven’t changed much. All any team is guaranteed is nine games in the season – seven in the normal schedule of your National Football League games, and two championship games. And that’s all we’re guaranteed. I think we all accept that isn’t good enough. We’re looking for strong leadership from Croke Park. I think Páraic Duffy has given it in this case – as he did back in 2000 when he got the qualifiers (passed) and I do recall a lot of angst around the country about that, and that was proven a success. So I would hope that there’s a broader plan, and this might be a phase of that broader plan. I would hope that the Ard Stiurthoir and Croke Park would come out strongly and articulate what the vision is.”

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher

“I think it is well worth the experiment. You have to try new things and to reinvigorate things. There is no doubt some of the quarter-finals have been dead ducks. Funny, our players were against it: they voted with the GPA against it. I feel that you want the best teams playing against each other as often as possible. I think if we got Dublin in a quarter-final here or Mayo or likewise us going there: I think it would be great for our supporters and very fair. We are giving away some valuable marketing time (in September) but if it frees up club football we have to serve that as well. There will be a lot of debate about it but I personally would commend Páraic Duffy. He said it is not him that has brought this but a whole group of people.”

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford

It’s something that going to be trialled, and I think we need to embrace it. It’s new, and if it doesn’t work I think we’ll need to go back and look at it again. In some ways, no more than the mark being tried out in the league, let’s try and embrace it and make the best of it. And if there is a better way around it, then let’s look at that after 2020.

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath

“I’m totally against that. It’s a very elitist development and is going to take the element of the unexpected even further out of the game - the underdog’s chances are going to be reduced even further. It is sanitising the game too much in that sense. I was surprised that practically every county voted for it, even the smaller counties, which are the ones you’d expect are going to suffer as a result of it.”

Clare manager Colm Collins

“It’s as pointless talking about it now, as it is me talking about winning the Lotto. It’s in now and we have got to deal with it. I’m not in favour of it. All of the players, all of the inter-county managers are not in favour of it and it’s in. So nice job by the GAA. Without question it stacks the dice in favour of the stronger counties but that’s what they want. It’s in now for three years so we just get on with it. I don’t think it helps anybody except the strong and it does nothing for the dual players. But that’s the way they went and it just shows that the top of the organisation is totally out of sync with the grassroots.”

Longford boss Denis Connerton

“Super 8 does absolutely nothing for counties from Division 3 and 4. The views of players are going to have to be considered and listened to, which is not happening. Clubs will also suffer as there are more matches for any time in the last 8 which fills an already very full calendar.”

Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney

“I think it’s a start. To be honest how much club championship is played between the middle of July and the beginning of August. It’s not perfect by any means but it does give the clubs more time. I think the organisation have a duty to listen to the players but they also have a duty to make sure our championship is something people want to watch.”

 

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