I’ve been biting my tongue. I now understand how people voted for Trump and for Brexit! The amount of group think happening in the GAA world right now is right up there with the lunatics across the water to our east and west. If social media and bots can influence votes on a grand scale across the USA and the UK, well I guess it can happen here too! This is change for changes sake.
This Proposal is not the solution, not near it, and it’s going to do more harm than good for inter county football. Sorry to say it but this is lemmings marching off a cliff type of behaviour. There is an alphabet soup of better proposals that could be put forward before this ‘dogs dinner’ of a solution.
I hate stereotypes and generalisms but that old ‘an Irish solution to an Irish problem’ springs to mind. Why is it that GAA units design competitions with back doors, side doors and trap doors and think these are equitable and fair ways to run our competitions?
Here we go again. Imagine designing a competition that rewards the 26th and 27th placed teams above the 6th and 7th placed teams. How is that acceptable??? In a very very competitive Division 1 league the margins between finishing in a top 2/3 position and 6/7/8th position is minimal; but ‘you lads are just unlucky’. Bye bye lads till next year oh and we hope you enjoy watching teams 20 places below you progress while you disappear over the cliff with those lemmings…. this is daft…
So we have now rebranded the O Byrne Cup, the McGrath Cup, The McKenna Cup and the FBD League as provincial championships and we are going to play them in the very worst of weather. It’s gonna be riveting. Roll up roll up and book your online tickets before they sell out! Anyone who has trained and played in the NFL in January, February and March know full well that these three months are by far the worst months of the year for GAA. October, November and December are even better months to play our games….so we can expect these provincial championships to be every bit as successful as the much ridiculed pre season competitions…
And for those counties now bating at the breath for the Tailteann Cup, well I hate to break it to them; this competition will probably be dominated by the teams operating at the top end of Division Three. The possibility of a Croke Park Final is as elusive as playing in The All Ireland Final for those counties. We are being sold a pup.
There is a considerable campaign afoot to push this proposal over the line and fair play to those who believe in it. But many of those same people have demonised any opposing voice to this magical solution; ably abetted by many in the media who have a vested interest. Their interest is in having the top teams playing over and over again to fill their column inches and their podcasts. Ching Ching. Once this is up and running watch how the media responds and where the coverage goes. Every other point of view is of dinosaurs and the insulting comments about provincial officials and county officials who hold different views is sickening to read. If I was asked who I thought were the best promoters of our games between the provincial councils and Croke Park, I would select the provincial councils. In my experience their record on the ground is far superior.
As I alluded to earlier, there are a myriad of better solutions that could have been put forward. I don’t know why they have pushed this one. Yes there is need for change – and quite a bit of it but this is not it. Without doubt the League is the most important competition for most counties, probably for 25/26 of them – it is where long term improvement can be made. But the Championship is about the magical days. its about the rare one off victories – just like the FA Cup. Lower ranked teams need days where they rub shoulders with the giants of the game. There is no better vehicle for promoting the game in a county. Yes there are hammerings. The main reason for hammerings isn’t population or sub standard players; it’s the preparation and coaching infra structure a team needs to compete. The Leitrim County Final is rightly being hailed as a classic. How is that possible? Is it because there are in fact good footballers in every county? Yeah I think so. There are very good footballers in every county.
Hammerings happens in every team sport. We need the league and championship running concurrently; we need a defined season. That may mean less games but more quality, more concentrated exposure.
The bigger questions are the patent unfairness in funding and structures that favour the strong larger counties. That even extends to voting rights. It should be equal representation for counties when the issue relates to county competition; yes the larger counties have more clubs and they need to be given proportionate representation – when the issue is a club issue. And how can overseas units have so many votes about competitions they have not part in? The voting system is at best flawed.
Where has the debate gone about funding? Where is the equalisation that we need to develop the smaller units to enable them be more competitive? Even American football and the Premiership recognise the need for positive discrimination in their professional sports. Yet we are an ‘amateur’ sport that allows unequal funding to underpin our competitions to maintain the status quo.
We all care about the game, we all want our county to do but any serious analysis of this proposal will show how poor it actually is.
I’ve blogged about linked issues before but sadly I don’t see any enlightened vision from Croke Park or the GPA on the County scene. Here are links to two previous posts: