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

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Replying To omahant:  "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)."
Given current restrictions, there is merit in a regionalised league temporarily. However in the long run, I think teams would prefer to play countrywide in the league.

The structure above clumps 16 teams in division 2 which won't close the gap to the top teams. For them middle ranking teams to improve, they need games at a higher standard.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 20 - 03/12/2020 16:48:57    2317973

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Replying To Manners5:  "Given current restrictions, there is merit in a regionalised league temporarily. However in the long run, I think teams would prefer to play countrywide in the league.

The structure above clumps 16 teams in division 2 which won't close the gap to the top teams. For them middle ranking teams to improve, they need games at a higher standard."
I have div 1 as national - not sure if the other 24 need to travel - I have 2 to 4 going up each year from each of div 2 and 3.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2167 - 03/12/2020 18:41:10    2317994

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I could see the following All Ireland championship be interesting.

2 groups of 10, Ulster/Connacht and Munster/Leinster.

At the start of each season 7 teams from each section are already qualified.

That leaves 3 from 8 in Ulster/Connacht and 3 from 10 in Munster/Leinster playing off to qualify for their provincial group.

The format of these play offs will see 2 groups of 4 in Ulster/Connacht and 2 groups of 5 in Leinster/Munster with top in each group through and the 2nd placed teams playing off for the remaining spots.

This competition would take 7 weeks to run in Leinster/Munster and 5 weeks in Ulster/Connacht

You'd then have 10 teams in each Provincial group, these could include knockout provincial championship games but the main thing is that every team plays 9 group games.

3 from 10 in each section progress to the All Ireland.

2nd in each section hosting 3rd in the other section.

Semifinals in Croke Park.

Other teams are playing to retain automatic qualification.

Top 6 in each group guarantee a spot in the following season.

The second tier championship sees the 12 teams play all the teams that they didn't already play in their qualifying group and group games against one of those 12 teams also count towards an 11 game schedule.

There's then some sort of playoff tournament with at least the winners qualifying for their Provincial championship for the following year.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 05/12/2020 12:21:12    2318463

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Ulster/Connacht

Cavan, Mayo, Galway, Tyrone, Donegal, Monaghan, Roscommon would be automatically qualified say.

Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Derry, Antrim, Sligo, Leitrim and London would have to qualify.

Leinster/Munster

Dublin, Tipperary, Kerry, Meath, Kildare, Westmeath, Laois say.

Clare, Cork, Longford, Offaly, Limerick, Wicklow, Louth, Wexford, Carlow, Waterford would have to qualify.

Every team gets a shot at qualifying directly, if they don't they proceed to a meaningful secondary competition and they'll have had a minimum 12 game season.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 05/12/2020 12:34:24    2318467

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Replying To Whammo86:  "Ulster/Connacht

Cavan, Mayo, Galway, Tyrone, Donegal, Monaghan, Roscommon would be automatically qualified say.

Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Derry, Antrim, Sligo, Leitrim and London would have to qualify.

Leinster/Munster

Dublin, Tipperary, Kerry, Meath, Kildare, Westmeath, Laois say.

Clare, Cork, Longford, Offaly, Limerick, Wicklow, Louth, Wexford, Carlow, Waterford would have to qualify.

Every team gets a shot at qualifying directly, if they don't they proceed to a meaningful secondary competition and they'll have had a minimum 12 game season."
I like it. Keeps KO Provs within league structure. Presumably, the Top 7s would start play concurrebtly with the Qualifier groups ?

Although, I don't see why you were against my 6 Div 2 making the Sam 16 when your Qualifiers essentially give those outside your Top 14 a chance of also playing at the top table.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2167 - 05/12/2020 18:57:09    2318606

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Replying To omahant:  "I like it. Keeps KO Provs within league structure. Presumably, the Top 7s would start play concurrebtly with the Qualifier groups ?

Although, I don't see why you were against my 6 Div 2 making the Sam 16 when your Qualifiers essentially give those outside your Top 14 a chance of also playing at the top table."
It's because they don't qualify at the expense of a team playing a harder schedule. They'd qualify for the final stages on merit.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 05/12/2020 19:10:57    2318623

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Stephen Cluxton has more all ireland titles than all counties except for Kerry and Galway and more Leinster titles than all counties except for Meath.

Cluxton is a great player and played a long time but that alone shows big changes are needed.

KillingFields (Limerick) - Posts: 2610 - 05/12/2020 19:11:25    2318626

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Replying To Whammo86:  "It's because they don't qualify at the expense of a team playing a harder schedule. They'd qualify for the final stages on merit."
That's a fair point - although, while strictly unfair - I would be in favour of some 'handicapping' to give less developed teams a chance of a breakthrough - and I'd have re-seeding in each KO round that favours the top flight teams.

Back to my plan (Div 1 2x8, Div 2x8) and to address your merit point - how about - top 2 in both Div 2 groups join all 16 Div 1 teams in the AI KO field of 20 in current year - but only the top 5 in each div 1 group retains top flight status (top 3 in both Div 2 group go up and guaranteed a KO 20 berth the following year.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2167 - 05/12/2020 19:46:37    2318702

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I don't think a group format in the championship is the answer as it favours the stronger teams. A shock result in that format is less likely to put a big gun out. It could also lead to teams "settling" for keeping scores down, rather than having a cut at a big team. Any momentum gained from winning a provincial would be lost from knowing another of spate of games are coming up before an All Ireland Quarter/Semi Final could be reached.

People saying the championship format needs to change are looking at the wrong competition (although 4 provinces of 8 would be preferable). Teams use the league to prepare for the championship & to develop players. What drives differences in standards is the level of prepatory work teams do. Increasing the size of division 1 to 16 would would instantly bring up the standard of preparation required by the current division 2 teams.

On the evidence of tonight, Cavan had a cut at times but were outclassed by a team on a higher level. If Cavan want to get to that level, they need to play more games at that standard. They would stand a much better chance of achieving that in a revised league structure.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 20 - 05/12/2020 21:00:02    2318800

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I don't think a group format in the championship is the answer as it favours the stronger teams. A shock result in that format is less likely to put a big gun out. It could also lead to teams "settling" for keeping scores down, rather than having a cut at a big team. Any momentum gained from winning a provincial would be lost from knowing another of spate of games are coming up before an All Ireland Quarter/Semi Final could be reached.

People saying the championship format needs to change are looking at the wrong competition (although 4 provinces of 8 would be preferable). Teams use the league to prepare for the championship & to develop players. What drives differences in standards is the level of prepatory work teams do. Increasing the size of division 1 to 16 would would instantly bring up the standard of preparation required by the current division 2 teams.

On the evidence of tonight, Cavan had a cut at times but were outclassed by a team on a higher level. If Cavan want to get to that level, they need to play more games at that standard. They would stand a much better chance of achieving that in a revised league structure.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 6 - 05/12/2020 21:00:02
As opposed to the current system that has seen 7 teams in all ireland final in last 17 years and only 5 winners.
We already have teams settling to keep scores down in plenty of the early provincial championship games especially sides playing the big sides like Dubs, Kerry.
Where would you play all these league games by expanding division 1 of the league to 16 teams?

KillingFields (Limerick) - Posts: 2610 - 06/12/2020 00:12:32    2318940

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Replying To Manners5:  "I don't think a group format in the championship is the answer as it favours the stronger teams. A shock result in that format is less likely to put a big gun out. It could also lead to teams "settling" for keeping scores down, rather than having a cut at a big team. Any momentum gained from winning a provincial would be lost from knowing another of spate of games are coming up before an All Ireland Quarter/Semi Final could be reached.

People saying the championship format needs to change are looking at the wrong competition (although 4 provinces of 8 would be preferable). Teams use the league to prepare for the championship & to develop players. What drives differences in standards is the level of prepatory work teams do. Increasing the size of division 1 to 16 would would instantly bring up the standard of preparation required by the current division 2 teams.

On the evidence of tonight, Cavan had a cut at times but were outclassed by a team on a higher level. If Cavan want to get to that level, they need to play more games at that standard. They would stand a much better chance of achieving that in a revised league structure."
This idea that knockout championship is a great leveller is a bit of a fallacy that I've heard from a lot of people.

Gaelic football isn't really soccer where there's only a small number of scores and where luck has a large impact of the results.

The better performing team in football wins way more often.

This season was a bit of an anomaly in that there were a couple of surprise provincial winners.

I don't think you can read much into that. This has obviously just been a bit of an extraordinary year, with a winter championship and less preparation time for county teams.

You look at Cavan going up against Dublin. How many championship games have Cavan played in the last 10 years compared to Dublin. How many more appearances do Dublin have at championship level in their squad.

Same with Meath in the Leinster final.

Cavan tried to play, had a lot of good moments, were clearly well prepared, kept it relatively tight in the first half but ultimately just Dublin have the answers to all the questions that were posed to them. They've seen these questions time and time again, they're practiced in responding to them. Cavan are a good well coached outfit that have had recent division 1 league status and couldn't get near Dublin. Cavan were 16-1 with the bookies looking to make a profit at that level.

I feel we need to provide a proper platform for teams to improve. It has to come in the championship too. At the end of the day the championship is what matters. Kerry would swap their league title in a second to have beaten Cork. It's not just a case of teams needing games as better teams. The intensity of the games needs to be there too.

As another poster pointed out, if you have a 16 team league then there's going to be a lot more comfortable teams.

A knockout championship has more likelihood to through up surprises but at the same time most of the time there aren't surprises and so on average the strong get relatively stronger too by virtue of playing substantially more championship matches.

I think the Dublin problem is just enormous too though. Regardless of the format Dublin are going to walk their way to semifinals, finals and occasionally right through the whole way with little resistance.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 06/12/2020 10:46:52    2319048

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In response to killing fields, a 16 team division 1 would only require one extra weekend compared to the current system as it would be 8 teams in 1A & 8 in 1B. The extra weekend would be needed for semi finals & a possible promotion/relegation playoff.

It won't be the silver bullet to fix all ills but it would help reduce the gap. More long term measures need to be introduced as well (maybe every county to get a centrally funded S & C person to oversee all players & clubs, a full time PR/commercial person as well) but these would take longer to have a real effect. A 16 team division 1 would even up standards with 2-3 years.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 20 - 06/12/2020 16:29:58    2319264

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Open draw to pick 1 from each division, 8 groups of 4. 3 matches with top 2 going into last 16 of All Ireland. Then open draw right up to Final.

Saynothing (Tyrone) - Posts: 1021 - 06/12/2020 16:37:22    2319270

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Replying To Manners5:  "In response to killing fields, a 16 team division 1 would only require one extra weekend compared to the current system as it would be 8 teams in 1A & 8 in 1B. The extra weekend would be needed for semi finals & a possible promotion/relegation playoff.

It won't be the silver bullet to fix all ills but it would help reduce the gap. More long term measures need to be introduced as well (maybe every county to get a centrally funded S & C person to oversee all players & clubs, a full time PR/commercial person as well) but these would take longer to have a real effect. A 16 team division 1 would even up standards with 2-3 years."
1A and 1B isnt the answer. Just play league through the year and make more games in the league.
8 team groups isnt the answer. you shouldnt have to have semi finals and finals in a league.
a 16 team division 1 wouldnt even up standards in 2-3 years

KillingFields (Limerick) - Posts: 2610 - 06/12/2020 16:40:09    2319275

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Open draw to pick 1 from each division, 8 groups of 4. 3 matches with top 2 going into last 16 of All Ireland. Then open draw right up to Final.

Saynothing (Tyrone) - Posts: 1021 - 06/12/2020 16:41:09    2319276

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Replying To KillingFields:  "I don't think a group format in the championship is the answer as it favours the stronger teams. A shock result in that format is less likely to put a big gun out. It could also lead to teams "settling" for keeping scores down, rather than having a cut at a big team. Any momentum gained from winning a provincial would be lost from knowing another of spate of games are coming up before an All Ireland Quarter/Semi Final could be reached.

People saying the championship format needs to change are looking at the wrong competition (although 4 provinces of 8 would be preferable). Teams use the league to prepare for the championship & to develop players. What drives differences in standards is the level of prepatory work teams do. Increasing the size of division 1 to 16 would would instantly bring up the standard of preparation required by the current division 2 teams.

On the evidence of tonight, Cavan had a cut at times but were outclassed by a team on a higher level. If Cavan want to get to that level, they need to play more games at that standard. They would stand a much better chance of achieving that in a revised league structure.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 6 - 05/12/2020 21:00:02
As opposed to the current system that has seen 7 teams in all ireland final in last 17 years and only 5 winners.
We already have teams settling to keep scores down in plenty of the early provincial championship games especially sides playing the big sides like Dubs, Kerry.
Where would you play all these league games by expanding division 1 of the league to 16 teams?"
You could play a balanced 'half round robin'.
For the Top 16 league, you could have teams finishing say, 1st, 8th, 4th & 5th from both existing Divs 1 & 2 play those in 2nd, 7th, 3rd & 6th from BOTH divs (after merging divs and promo/relag issues are settled) for the following year (8-match schedule). Do the same with Lower 16.

Or, go Top 20 / Lower 12.
Top 20 - (1, 10), (4, 7) & 5 plays (2, 9), (3, 8) & 6 from BOTH halves (10-match schedule).
Lower 12 - Form groups A (1, 12, 6, 7) & B (2, 11, 5, 8) & C (3, 10, 4, 9). Then, A hosts B, B hosts C & C hosts A (8-match schedule).
AI KO - 1st 8 in Top 20 combined table to AI KO QFs (1 hosts 8, 2h7, 3h6 & 4h5).
Bottom 6 to Relag KO Playoffs - 15h20, 16h19 & 17h18 (3 losers go down).
Tier 2 KO - 1st 6 in Lower 12 combined table to 1st Rd KO - 1 hosts 6, 2h5 & 3h4 (3 winners go up and conclude Tier 2 KO, highest seeded winner to Final, other 2 to SF).

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2167 - 06/12/2020 17:51:51    2319351

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Replying To Saynothing:  "Open draw to pick 1 from each division, 8 groups of 4. 3 matches with top 2 going into last 16 of All Ireland. Then open draw right up to Final."
I wouldn't like the possible Dub v 32-ranked pairing. What do you think of my Top 20 / Lower 12 post ?

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2167 - 06/12/2020 18:02:45    2319359

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Replying To Saynothing:  "Open draw to pick 1 from each division, 8 groups of 4. 3 matches with top 2 going into last 16 of All Ireland. Then open draw right up to Final."
I don't think that's an improvement on what we have already.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3658 - 06/12/2020 18:03:06    2319360

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Replying To KillingFields:  "1A and 1B isnt the answer. Just play league through the year and make more games in the league.
8 team groups isnt the answer. you shouldnt have to have semi finals and finals in a league.
a 16 team division 1 wouldnt even up standards in 2-3 years"
Maybe even up was the wrong choice of words, but it will bring on the teams outside of the top 5/6 & reduce that gap.

For the greater part, league games are not nearly as relevant as championship games; that goes for every level of GAA, be it county, club, schools etc. Hence, I don't understand the idea of flipping the order of the competitions as currently is. Tipp's division 3 league title in 2017 pales in comparison to their Munster title this year.

Regarding reducing the gap in standards, compare the championships from 1998-2007 (when old 1A/1B format was in place) to 2008-2017 (current structure).
14 provincial winners from 98-07, 11 provincial winners from 08-17
8 NFL Winners from 98-07, 4 NFL Winners from 08-17.
Under the old league format, there was a greater spread of winners of the main competitions. Additionally, perceived weaker counties came very close to claiming provincial honours (Tipperary 02, Limerick 04, Fermanagh 08), whilst there were also novel league finalists such as Cavan (02), Laois (03) & Wexford (05). I accept that including 2020 winners would change these stats but the year could be seen as an anomoly given how it has played out.

Manners5 (Westmeath) - Posts: 20 - 06/12/2020 18:05:24    2319363

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Many a poster on here, including some from my own county say that the league is not important and that championship is everything, well if Dublin are the yardstick then here is the reality.
Since 2015 Dublin's average winning margin against lower division teams is 17.5 points, mainly in the championship playing in second gear
Dublin's overall average winning margin against division 1 teams for the same period is 4.5 points (for championship only it is 4.8 points ). Not playing in second gear.
The point is very obvious if you're not playing in division one you have no hope against them in the championship. The association seem happy for this to continue, especially the Leinster Council

mhunicean_abu (Monaghan) - Posts: 931 - 06/12/2020 18:45:12    2319393

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