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Restructure The Football League To Reduce Between The Top Teams & The Rest

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Is there any merit in restructuring the football league back to 1A & 1B (similar to pre 2008)?

The gap between the strongest counties & the rest seems to be widening (Cork & Cavan's defeats of Kerry & Donegal excepted) each year. Too little attention has been given to the effect the division 1/2/3/4 structure in place since 2008 has had on widening gaps in standards, with the gap from division one to two being obvious in recent years. The Tailteann Cup, whilst beneficial in providing silverware for counties, will not address the gap between the top 6/7 teams and the rest. From a GAA perspective, a 1A & 1B format is used in hurling to try bring more counties up in standard, so why not the same approach for football? 

Divisions 1A & 1B could be drawn from a seeded draw of the top 2 divisions, with divisions 3 & 4 changed to divisions 2 & 3 respectively. Bottom team in 1A & 1B relegated & replaced by top 2 in new division 2. Possibly the worst 7th place in 1A or 1B could play 3rd in division 2 in a playoff.

The counties currently of division 2 standard would get higher quality games & this would bring them on. It would also increase gate receipts & give more exposure to these counties.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 20 - 26/11/2020 22:10:49    2315778

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*Title should say reduce the gap between the top teams & the rest

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 20 - 26/11/2020 22:25:30    2315784

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Honestly I think a format along these lines should be the championship.

I wouldn't have division 2 and 3 though.

It'd be championship 2 North and Championship 2 South.

You'd run the Provincial championships off.

The 4 Provincial champions would all qualify and be seeded 2 to each section.

The final 12 places would be taken up by the 10 best placed teams from the previous season's championship and the tier 2 finalists from the previous season.

Really the hurling championship is very close to the hurling league format and the football should just do something similar, having a competition along the lines of the old league.

Top 3 in each group to All Ireland playoffs.

4 and 5th in each group guaranteed a place in the following season's top tier.

6th and 7th placed teams can qualify depending on the provincial winners.

If it were a season like this year, you'd probably only have the 2 sixth place teams qualifying with Cavan and Tipp taking the place of the 7th placed teams.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 27/11/2020 00:13:56    2315817

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Replying To Manners5:  "Is there any merit in restructuring the football league back to 1A & 1B (similar to pre 2008)?

The gap between the strongest counties & the rest seems to be widening (Cork & Cavan's defeats of Kerry & Donegal excepted) each year. Too little attention has been given to the effect the division 1/2/3/4 structure in place since 2008 has had on widening gaps in standards, with the gap from division one to two being obvious in recent years. The Tailteann Cup, whilst beneficial in providing silverware for counties, will not address the gap between the top 6/7 teams and the rest. From a GAA perspective, a 1A & 1B format is used in hurling to try bring more counties up in standard, so why not the same approach for football? 

Divisions 1A & 1B could be drawn from a seeded draw of the top 2 divisions, with divisions 3 & 4 changed to divisions 2 & 3 respectively. Bottom team in 1A & 1B relegated & replaced by top 2 in new division 2. Possibly the worst 7th place in 1A or 1B could play 3rd in division 2 in a playoff.

The counties currently of division 2 standard would get higher quality games & this would bring them on. It would also increase gate receipts & give more exposure to these counties."
Paul Rouse made the same point on OTB.

[url=]https://www.otbsports.com/football/tiered-championship-rouse-916735

"The most successful time in which a range of teams came through in the GAA was when there was a Division 1A and 1B, Division 2A and 2B, in which there was a mix of teams from across the four divisions were playing against each other.

"You had new championship winners coming through and new National League winners coming through year after year.

I think it would be worth looking at bringing back 1A/1B and keeping Divs 2 and 3 below that.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 472 - 27/11/2020 01:01:02    2315826

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I think there should be three divisions instead of four. Ten in div 1, twelve in div 2, ten in div 3. top two teams promoted and bottom two relegated with 3rd top in div 2 for example in a playoff against the 3rd bottom team in div 2

republicofcloone (Leitrim) - Posts: 375 - 27/11/2020 09:35:29    2315846

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Replying To Manners5:  "Is there any merit in restructuring the football league back to 1A & 1B (similar to pre 2008)?

The gap between the strongest counties & the rest seems to be widening (Cork & Cavan's defeats of Kerry & Donegal excepted) each year. Too little attention has been given to the effect the division 1/2/3/4 structure in place since 2008 has had on widening gaps in standards, with the gap from division one to two being obvious in recent years. The Tailteann Cup, whilst beneficial in providing silverware for counties, will not address the gap between the top 6/7 teams and the rest. From a GAA perspective, a 1A & 1B format is used in hurling to try bring more counties up in standard, so why not the same approach for football? 

Divisions 1A & 1B could be drawn from a seeded draw of the top 2 divisions, with divisions 3 & 4 changed to divisions 2 & 3 respectively. Bottom team in 1A & 1B relegated & replaced by top 2 in new division 2. Possibly the worst 7th place in 1A or 1B could play 3rd in division 2 in a playoff.

The counties currently of division 2 standard would get higher quality games & this would bring them on. It would also increase gate receipts & give more exposure to these counties."
Whilst this would have some merit it won't in my opinion improve the standard or depth of football. Yes there is a wide gap between Div 1 and Div 2 but in fact the gap is from the top 6 down as we have seen in some games this year.

The exception is Cavan but they're also a perfect example of why the league structures improve teams - whilst they're a Div 3 team now they're a county who have put the structures in place to compete in Div 1 over the last couple of years and had good recent underage success. They're a team who finally got it together and deserved to win Ulster; a lot of the structures and success is achieved on merit and having a few years in Div 1 helped; yes double relegation is a disaster but they'll sort that out.

Taking the top four in Div 1 and pairing them with 5 - 8th for example in Div 2 would ruin the national league which is actually the GAA's best competition; there is a difference in Div 1 and Div 2 but getting promoted from Div 2 takes a lot of work and preparation.
Those counties still struggle but in time as we've seen with Cavan and Roscommon it benefits them and they go on to be successful.

Just handing teams further down the structure the big games/opposition without them having to improve their own structures/conditioning/team would reduce the motivation of your Cavan's, Roscommon's, Meath's etc to genuinely improve and put huge amounts of work into getting upto top 8 stanard and trying to stay there.

I think the league structures are right; yes the top are pulling away but there is a group just below working day and night to bridge that and there should be a group below that and so on working to catch the teams just above them.

Wait until we see what a dedicated, ambitious, hard working Louth team under Harte will achieve in the national legaue. He'll take them through the leagues and don't be surprised if he challenges for Div 1. There is a lazy argument about changing the format but to me it's the fairest system there is because it promotes hard work for the counties who genuinely want to get on. As we've seen with Tipp and Cavan this year the work they put into the league over the last decade has been a springboard to their success - yes they'll fell down leagues but have been fairly high from where they came from.

2021 is obviously different as we need to ensure some competition is played so change was probably inevitable but after that a league based on merit is the best system which is the current system.

sam1884 (UK) - Posts: 856 - 27/11/2020 10:04:06    2315854

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Replying To sam1884:  "Whilst this would have some merit it won't in my opinion improve the standard or depth of football. Yes there is a wide gap between Div 1 and Div 2 but in fact the gap is from the top 6 down as we have seen in some games this year.

The exception is Cavan but they're also a perfect example of why the league structures improve teams - whilst they're a Div 3 team now they're a county who have put the structures in place to compete in Div 1 over the last couple of years and had good recent underage success. They're a team who finally got it together and deserved to win Ulster; a lot of the structures and success is achieved on merit and having a few years in Div 1 helped; yes double relegation is a disaster but they'll sort that out.

Taking the top four in Div 1 and pairing them with 5 - 8th for example in Div 2 would ruin the national league which is actually the GAA's best competition; there is a difference in Div 1 and Div 2 but getting promoted from Div 2 takes a lot of work and preparation.
Those counties still struggle but in time as we've seen with Cavan and Roscommon it benefits them and they go on to be successful.

Just handing teams further down the structure the big games/opposition without them having to improve their own structures/conditioning/team would reduce the motivation of your Cavan's, Roscommon's, Meath's etc to genuinely improve and put huge amounts of work into getting upto top 8 stanard and trying to stay there.

I think the league structures are right; yes the top are pulling away but there is a group just below working day and night to bridge that and there should be a group below that and so on working to catch the teams just above them.

Wait until we see what a dedicated, ambitious, hard working Louth team under Harte will achieve in the national legaue. He'll take them through the leagues and don't be surprised if he challenges for Div 1. There is a lazy argument about changing the format but to me it's the fairest system there is because it promotes hard work for the counties who genuinely want to get on. As we've seen with Tipp and Cavan this year the work they put into the league over the last decade has been a springboard to their success - yes they'll fell down leagues but have been fairly high from where they came from.

2021 is obviously different as we need to ensure some competition is played so change was probably inevitable but after that a league based on merit is the best system which is the current system."
The league was a pretty good competition back when it was 2 divisions with 2 groups of 8 also though.

I also don't think there's much of a gap below the top 6. I think there's a gap from Dublin to the rest and then there should just be good opportunities presented for every other county to compete at the top table.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 27/11/2020 10:24:45    2315866

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Replying To Whammo86:  "The league was a pretty good competition back when it was 2 divisions with 2 groups of 8 also though.

I also don't think there's much of a gap below the top 6. I think there's a gap from Dublin to the rest and then there should just be good opportunities presented for every other county to compete at the top table."
The leagues pre 2008 were ok but then again there wasn't the financial crash in those years; counties were successful on the back of a good economy but in truth there were still a group at the top as there would be in any era.

The Div 1 to 4 structure has been good for the national league and allowed genuinely competitive divisions. I think it's a pity Div 3 and Div 4 doesn't get more exposure but maybe now will with the Harte effect - in terms of product the leagues are the best they've ever been.

There is an argument two Div 3 teams are now provincial champions and another Div 2. As I mentioned earlier I think the standards in those counties significantly improved as they knew they had to if they wanted to compete in Div 1/2. The fact they fell to Div 3 probably indicates the work going on in Div 2 and football having more depth that we initally think.

You're right in hindsight; maybe it's a Dublin problem but below that it's extrembly competitive and I think the national league structures make it a tough world to live in - you have to earn the right to play Div 1 and it isn't easy to compete in Div 2 either; you have to drive up your own standards and getting promoted from Div 2 takes some doing and even coming up from Div 3 is tough.

Going back to pre 2008 would in my opinion slow the progress as you could be 15th or 16th in the country but get to play Dublin or Kerry in the league; one it reduces motivation to improve and two ruins a fantastic national league product.

sam1884 (UK) - Posts: 856 - 27/11/2020 10:45:11    2315871

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Replying To sam1884:  "The leagues pre 2008 were ok but then again there wasn't the financial crash in those years; counties were successful on the back of a good economy but in truth there were still a group at the top as there would be in any era.

The Div 1 to 4 structure has been good for the national league and allowed genuinely competitive divisions. I think it's a pity Div 3 and Div 4 doesn't get more exposure but maybe now will with the Harte effect - in terms of product the leagues are the best they've ever been.

There is an argument two Div 3 teams are now provincial champions and another Div 2. As I mentioned earlier I think the standards in those counties significantly improved as they knew they had to if they wanted to compete in Div 1/2. The fact they fell to Div 3 probably indicates the work going on in Div 2 and football having more depth that we initally think.

You're right in hindsight; maybe it's a Dublin problem but below that it's extrembly competitive and I think the national league structures make it a tough world to live in - you have to earn the right to play Div 1 and it isn't easy to compete in Div 2 either; you have to drive up your own standards and getting promoted from Div 2 takes some doing and even coming up from Div 3 is tough.

Going back to pre 2008 would in my opinion slow the progress as you could be 15th or 16th in the country but get to play Dublin or Kerry in the league; one it reduces motivation to improve and two ruins a fantastic national league product."
I think there's still a lot of incentive to improve.

I do think the competition should just be the championship.

The incentive to improve is to qualify for the championship final stages.

I get where you're coming from though. If the National league is just something of a developmental competition, then getting and staying in a tier is all that matters.

In that system it's important that there is this competitive relegation and promotion mechanism in place.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 27/11/2020 11:11:14    2315881

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The championship could look something like this, basing it roughly on the National league this year and Provincial championships.

4 Provincial champions
Dublin
Cavan
Tipperary
Mayo

10 teams from Previous season's championship 1.

Kerry
Galway
Tyrone
Donegal
Monaghan
Roscommon
Armagh
Meath
Kildare
Westmeath

Then let's say Cork and Down were the previous season's tier 2 finalists.

You'd have groups like
1
Dublin
Cavan
Galway
Cork
Kildare
Armagh
Roscommon
Tyrone

2
Mayo
Tipperary
Meath
Donegal
Kerry
Down
Westmeath
Monaghan

3 teams from each section qualify for knockout rounds, top teams getting a bye to the semifinals.

4th and 5th placed teams guaranteed a Championship 1 place the following season.

6th and 7th placed teams qualify depending on provincial winners.

8th placed teams would have to win their Provincial championship to qualify.

Championship 2 North would look something like
Fermanagh
Derry
Antrim
Louth
Sligo
Leitrim
Longford
London

Championship 2 South
Limerick
Wexford
Waterford
Clare
Wicklow
Carlow
Laois
Offaly


Top 4 from each tier 2 group go to those playoffs. With top 2 teams in each section getting home advantage. Semifinals would also be home/away with teams seeded by group stage position. First in each group guaranteed a home semi final if they make it.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 27/11/2020 11:37:56    2315891

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For AIC, back to 2 divs, each with 2x8 groups.
Top 5 in groups 1A & 1B and top 3 in groups 2N & 2S (north/south, or 2A & 2B) to AIC KO Rd of 16.
Teams seeded 1-16 based first on div rank (1 or 2) before league record (match pts, score diff etc).
In each of 4 KO rds, highest seed plays lowest surviving seed (1H v 1L = 1v16 in 1st rd) and 2H v 2L = 2v15 etc.
Rds 1 & 2 hosted by higher seed; rd 3 at neutral prov venue; rd 4 Croke Park.
Prov Championships played as well - champs get seeds 1 to 4 based on league record [if champs do not qualify via league (unlikely), 3rd placed in div 2 groups lose their berth(s)].

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2167 - 27/11/2020 16:27:54    2315962

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Replying To sam1884:  "Whilst this would have some merit it won't in my opinion improve the standard or depth of football. Yes there is a wide gap between Div 1 and Div 2 but in fact the gap is from the top 6 down as we have seen in some games this year.

The exception is Cavan but they're also a perfect example of why the league structures improve teams - whilst they're a Div 3 team now they're a county who have put the structures in place to compete in Div 1 over the last couple of years and had good recent underage success. They're a team who finally got it together and deserved to win Ulster; a lot of the structures and success is achieved on merit and having a few years in Div 1 helped; yes double relegation is a disaster but they'll sort that out.

Taking the top four in Div 1 and pairing them with 5 - 8th for example in Div 2 would ruin the national league which is actually the GAA's best competition; there is a difference in Div 1 and Div 2 but getting promoted from Div 2 takes a lot of work and preparation.
Those counties still struggle but in time as we've seen with Cavan and Roscommon it benefits them and they go on to be successful.

Just handing teams further down the structure the big games/opposition without them having to improve their own structures/conditioning/team would reduce the motivation of your Cavan's, Roscommon's, Meath's etc to genuinely improve and put huge amounts of work into getting upto top 8 stanard and trying to stay there.

I think the league structures are right; yes the top are pulling away but there is a group just below working day and night to bridge that and there should be a group below that and so on working to catch the teams just above them.

Wait until we see what a dedicated, ambitious, hard working Louth team under Harte will achieve in the national legaue. He'll take them through the leagues and don't be surprised if he challenges for Div 1. There is a lazy argument about changing the format but to me it's the fairest system there is because it promotes hard work for the counties who genuinely want to get on. As we've seen with Tipp and Cavan this year the work they put into the league over the last decade has been a springboard to their success - yes they'll fell down leagues but have been fairly high from where they came from.

2021 is obviously different as we need to ensure some competition is played so change was probably inevitable but after that a league based on merit is the best system which is the current system."
I think you are putting too much onto this League. Spending one year in Div 1 doesn't help team develop. Kildare, Meath, etc need regular games against top tier opposition. The current format might look nice on paper but it also resulted in a wider gap between top and bottom.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 472 - 27/11/2020 16:46:58    2315967

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Replying To omahant:  "For AIC, back to 2 divs, each with 2x8 groups.
Top 5 in groups 1A & 1B and top 3 in groups 2N & 2S (north/south, or 2A & 2B) to AIC KO Rd of 16.
Teams seeded 1-16 based first on div rank (1 or 2) before league record (match pts, score diff etc).
In each of 4 KO rds, highest seed plays lowest surviving seed (1H v 1L = 1v16 in 1st rd) and 2H v 2L = 2v15 etc.
Rds 1 & 2 hosted by higher seed; rd 3 at neutral prov venue; rd 4 Croke Park.
Prov Championships played as well - champs get seeds 1 to 4 based on league record [if champs do not qualify via league (unlikely), 3rd placed in div 2 groups lose their berth(s)
."]I think 16 teams going to the knockout stages is too much. 5 from 8 is too much.

I don't like lower league teams getting through to the latter stages either at the expense of teams that were at the higher level.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 27/11/2020 17:06:22    2315973

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Replying To Rolo2010:  "I think you are putting too much onto this League. Spending one year in Div 1 doesn't help team develop. Kildare, Meath, etc need regular games against top tier opposition. The current format might look nice on paper but it also resulted in a wider gap between top and bottom."
I wouldn't underestimate the strength and conditioning, coaching, analysis and all round preparation required to even have one year in Div 1. Yes when teams achieve that goal it's hard to take that next step and remain there due to the quality in Div 1.

However as we've already seen, particularly with Cavan and Tipp (getting Div 2 standard the last few years) putting the work in to get to a high standard has a medium term effect. We've also seen it with Roscommon and hopefully we'll see it with Meath.

My point is not really about playing one year in Div 1 it's more about the huge amount of work required to get there which improves the whole set up for a few years. There are three provincial champions outside Div 1 at the minute; it just happens those counties all work extrembly hard and have driven up standards right across their set up; the fact two of them are Div 3 shows the unbelievable amount of work going on in Div 2 to raise the bar.

There is a big gap at the minute but maybe that's only from Dublin; I'd rather a system where counties put in the huge amount of work some are having to do to compete with teams (outside of Dublin) than saying to counties just work yourself upto 15th or 16th in the country and we'll give you a pass to the top table; just playing these teams aren't enough; you have to improve your set up to get into the top 8, top 16 and so on. I believe the league structures set the wheels in motion for Roscommon, Tipp and Cavan to win provincial titles, Meath in particular are unlucky they are stuck with Dublin but there is no doubt they had to raise standards to gain their promotion and that will benefit them again in 2021.

sam1884 (UK) - Posts: 856 - 27/11/2020 18:05:52    2315983

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Replying To sam1884:  "I wouldn't underestimate the strength and conditioning, coaching, analysis and all round preparation required to even have one year in Div 1. Yes when teams achieve that goal it's hard to take that next step and remain there due to the quality in Div 1.

However as we've already seen, particularly with Cavan and Tipp (getting Div 2 standard the last few years) putting the work in to get to a high standard has a medium term effect. We've also seen it with Roscommon and hopefully we'll see it with Meath.

My point is not really about playing one year in Div 1 it's more about the huge amount of work required to get there which improves the whole set up for a few years. There are three provincial champions outside Div 1 at the minute; it just happens those counties all work extrembly hard and have driven up standards right across their set up; the fact two of them are Div 3 shows the unbelievable amount of work going on in Div 2 to raise the bar.

There is a big gap at the minute but maybe that's only from Dublin; I'd rather a system where counties put in the huge amount of work some are having to do to compete with teams (outside of Dublin) than saying to counties just work yourself upto 15th or 16th in the country and we'll give you a pass to the top table; just playing these teams aren't enough; you have to improve your set up to get into the top 8, top 16 and so on. I believe the league structures set the wheels in motion for Roscommon, Tipp and Cavan to win provincial titles, Meath in particular are unlucky they are stuck with Dublin but there is no doubt they had to raise standards to gain their promotion and that will benefit them again in 2021."
I understand what you mean about teams needing to earn their division 1 status but the purpose of the league is to improve a team so they progress in the championship.

Winning a league title, while not to be snuffed at, does not carry the same weight as a provincial title or even a run in the championship. Going with a 1A/1B format exposes more teams to a higher quality & would improve the competitiveness of the championship.

The gap between divisions 1 & 2 is too big for many counties to bridge currently. The counties who do bridge it will possibly go up & down between both divisions over the course of a few years (e.g. Roscommon). The gap between top end division 4 & division 2 is quite minimal in comparison.

More counties playing at a higher standard will increase the competitiveness & the range of winners in championship.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 20 - 27/11/2020 19:50:12    2316013

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Replying To Manners5:  "I understand what you mean about teams needing to earn their division 1 status but the purpose of the league is to improve a team so they progress in the championship.

Winning a league title, while not to be snuffed at, does not carry the same weight as a provincial title or even a run in the championship. Going with a 1A/1B format exposes more teams to a higher quality & would improve the competitiveness of the championship.

The gap between divisions 1 & 2 is too big for many counties to bridge currently. The counties who do bridge it will possibly go up & down between both divisions over the course of a few years (e.g. Roscommon). The gap between top end division 4 & division 2 is quite minimal in comparison.

More counties playing at a higher standard will increase the competitiveness & the range of winners in championship."
It's a good post and you raise good points and may be correct. However we've two provincial champions from outside Div 1 this year and three will start next season outside it. We've never had a situation like that before even in the old A and B system so the system is creating a range of championship winners.

Dublin are a freak situation and it doesn't matter what system is used; they'd have won what they have. If you look at the appointments in Antrim, Louth and Sligo this autumn it gives an insight into how those Div 4 counties have realised what is required to raise the bar. Sport is about being where you deserve to be; it shouldn't be about taking teams by the hand with the aim of improving them.

The fact is it won't improve them anyway, only result in them battling on as they have the big games anyhow and there won't be the same determination we're seeing in the three Div 4 counties I mentioned and the likes of Cavan, Tipp, Clare, Roscommon, Meath etc who are doing unreal work and hopefully will stand to benefit further if Dublin fall into the pack.

sam1884 (UK) - Posts: 856 - 27/11/2020 20:36:08    2316025

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Replying To sam1884:  "It's a good post and you raise good points and may be correct. However we've two provincial champions from outside Div 1 this year and three will start next season outside it. We've never had a situation like that before even in the old A and B system so the system is creating a range of championship winners.

Dublin are a freak situation and it doesn't matter what system is used; they'd have won what they have. If you look at the appointments in Antrim, Louth and Sligo this autumn it gives an insight into how those Div 4 counties have realised what is required to raise the bar. Sport is about being where you deserve to be; it shouldn't be about taking teams by the hand with the aim of improving them.

The fact is it won't improve them anyway, only result in them battling on as they have the big games anyhow and there won't be the same determination we're seeing in the three Div 4 counties I mentioned and the likes of Cavan, Tipp, Clare, Roscommon, Meath etc who are doing unreal work and hopefully will stand to benefit further if Dublin fall into the pack."
This year and the provincial winners is a bit of a freak occurrence though.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 27/11/2020 21:18:41    2316044

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Surely by playing at a higher standard, then more counties will improve?

I also believe it would generate more interest in the league as you would have a novelty factor for many counties playing the top teams. It would also have knock on effectsion commercial interests as the current division 2 teams would get more media coverage, live games, etc. Given current talk of unfair commercial advantages at the moment, it might help smaller counties pull in increased sponsorship.

While I admire the ambition shown by Sligo & Louth, if they do advance, they will probably find a glass ceiling at division 2. To me, Clare are a good example. A solid division 2 team for 4 years who whilst beating Roscommon in 2016 & giving Mayo a good run for 50 mins in 2017, have not bloodied a big nose in Munster. They would surely benefit from league games with Tyrone, Galway etc but whilst also being able to maintain their league status. The biggest issue with a team who are promoted to division 1 for the first time is that they generally come back down straight away.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 20 - 28/11/2020 17:13:38    2316201

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Replying To Whammo86:  "
Replying To omahant:  "For AIC, back to 2 divs, each with 2x8 groups.
Top 5 in groups 1A & 1B and top 3 in groups 2N & 2S (north/south, or 2A & 2B) to AIC KO Rd of 16.
Teams seeded 1-16 based first on div rank (1 or 2) before league record (match pts, score diff etc).
In each of 4 KO rds, highest seed plays lowest surviving seed (1H v 1L = 1v16 in 1st rd) and 2H v 2L = 2v15 etc.
Rds 1 & 2 hosted by higher seed; rd 3 at neutral prov venue; rd 4 Croke Park.
Prov Championships played as well - champs get seeds 1 to 4 based on league record [if champs do not qualify via league (unlikely), 3rd placed in div 2 groups lose their berth(s)
."
I think 16 teams going to the knockout stages is too much. 5 from 8 is too much.

I don't like lower league teams getting through to the latter stages either at the expense of teams that were at the higher level."]I think with top teams retaining high seeding and playing the lowest surviving seed through 3 of 4 KO rds (and with home advantage in the 1st 2 rds), there is plenty incentive to play for position. With 6 up/ 6 down, the middle 12 will yoyo a bit, but each team will make the Rd of 16 only every 2 yrs, unless they displace a top 10 team in div 1. League record between teams finishing 3rd and 6th in a group could be modest - and teams have scope for improvement. The Provs, however, do need a re-jig to get comparable 4x8 mixed quality in each.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2167 - 30/11/2020 03:07:09    2316736

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Regionalise the NFL ?
Northwest - Uls, Conn, London, Louth
Southeast - Lein, Muns, less Kilk, Louth

Each region has 3 divs of 4, 8, 4.
Div 1 (7 games, 1x both regions).
Div 2 (7 games, 1x own region).
Div 3 (6 games, 2x own region).

Finals in Divs 2 & 3 (group winners)
Div 1 has no final (best record champ)

Regional 1.5 up/ 1.5 down (incl 2nd v 2nd bottom in Divs 2v1 & 3v2).

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2167 - 01/12/2020 04:36:21    2317216

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