"It's very naïve to try and split it down the middle to 16 and 16"

January 25, 2021

Fermanagh's Eoin Donnelly with Karl McKaigue of Derry.
©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty.

Fermanagh captain Eoin Donnelly says he doesn’t think a second-tier football championship will fix the problem to make games more competitive.

The Tailteann Cup had been scheduled in for 2020 but did not go ahead as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but is in the GAA’s plans for 2021 and would include Fermanagh if they fail to gain promotion from Division 3 or land what would be the county’s maiden Ulster SFC title.

Speaking to BBC Sport Northern Ireland, Donnelly said he can see the competition going the same way as the Tommy Murphy Cup did more than a decade ago.

"It's unfair to rule teams out of the qualifiers and Tier One. The All-Ireland Championship is not a top 16 and a bottom 16,” he said.

"I think everyone knows that there's a top very elite, one, two, three teams and then outside that there is a very big group of teams in and around the same level that can beat each other.

"It's very naïve to try and split it down the middle to 16 and 16. It's not going to improve the teams that are in Division Three and Division Four playing in that competition (Tailteann Cup) and I don't think it's going to have the same motivation for players.

"I understand the GAA felt they had to do something to make games more competitive but I don't think it is going to fix the problem."

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