Tom McGlinchey: Two-tier football championship deserves further research

Tom McGlinchey: 'The GAA needs big championship games to generate revenue.'

Waterford football boss Tom McGlinchey says there’s merit in Dara Ó Cinnéide’s proposal for a two-tier inter-county football championship but warns the structure and marketing of such a competition would be crucial.

In yesterday’s Irish Examiner, Ó Cinnéide called for a competition along the lines of the now-abandoned Tommy Murphy Cup, which featured counties who suffered defeats in the early stage of the championship.

McGlinchey pointed out that there are several factors to take into consideration with such a proposal: “A lot of it is about perception, there’s so much involved when you consider this.

“There are arguments for and against all the provincial championships, but I think most people accept they’re not going to go any time soon.

“So when your provincial championship is over, do you divide up the teams into different grades, senior, intermediate and junior?

“Every year there’s a team which makes it to a provincial final, a London or a Leitrim, or Fermanagh, and if you’re taking that opportunity away, what do they have to gain?

“On the other hand, realistically are counties like that going to win an All-Ireland senior football title in the near future? Probably not, so you have to ask what their realistic goals are.”

McGlinchey also pondered the grading structure such a competition would require.

“A Tommy Murphy Cup type of competition might work, but how would it be organised?

“In camogie you see how the grading into senior, intermediate and junior works pretty well, maybe that could be tried.

“How you’d sell it would be an important factor, particularly when you throw in the fixture issue, and the economics of it.

“The GAA needs big championship games to generate revenue, and people probably don’t realise that all of that filters back down — without the big games generating that revenue, the GAA isn’t able to promote the games properly in weaker counties, for instance.”


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