Wednesday 26 October 2016

Two-tier system still presents brightest future

THE standards demanded by the leading six or seven counties are now so much higher than the remaining counties that it is unlikely, due generally but not exclusively to population and resources, to be reached.

And when you look down into the lower divisions, say the teams ranked around 20 all the way out to 32, the chances of any of those being competitive when facing a Dublin, Kerry, Mayo, etc … are remote. In fact they are nil.

Because we are slow to tinker with the provincial formats (for instance, seeding is really only a feature of Munster and to a lesser extent Leinster) we can end up with provincial finals involving these powerhouses and teams from Division 3 and such like.

This year Sligo and Westmeath made it through to their respective finals and good luck and well done to both.

But the hammerings they received and the lack of competitive spectacle produced must surely have those charged with running these competitions wondering about proper structures.

I remain convinced, that while all counties should be allowed compete for their provincial crown, there must be a ranked/seeded approach so that these mismatches are avoided. I suggested such a format a few months back and nothing in the interim has happened to change those suggestions.

The All-Ireland championship series must have two tiers and the sooner the better. Otherwise, we'll have more of these non-events which do nothing for either county in the final.

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