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Football Format Changes Discussion

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Replying To Pope_Benedict:  "My point is that there is no value in it for Cavan, because they won't beat Tyrone, and even if they do, they won't beat Derry/Donegal.

There could be real value in it for Cavan however, if they 'acquired' Monaghan's seeding today for the Sam Maguire round robin, as a tangible reward for winning today's match. That's a tweak I'd favour to the current competition format, and apply to all 4 provincial championships."
Good point Pope Benedict. That went over my head earlier, like a lot of things!

GreenandRed (Mayo) - Posts: 7402 - 07/04/2024 20:00:41    2536337

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If provinces were limited to 8 in Ulster, 8 in Leinster, 4 in Connacht and 4 in Munster, the following counties would possibly be in a Tier 2 Provincial Championship:
Antrim
Wexford
Longford
Carlow
Tipperary
Waterford
Leitrim
London
New York
The Tier 2 Provincial Championship would be a fair level of competition. The 4 provincial winners and Tier 2 Provincial winner could be guaranteed a place in their respective provincial championships in the following year. The next league campaign then would determine the remainder of the teams qualifying for their provincial championship.
The Tier 2 Provincial Championship final could be a curtain raiser to the Leinster Football final in Croke Park. Leitrim might get another day out in Croke Park for example, with a serious carrot of provincial qualification on offer. The GAA are missing a creative change to reignite the provincial championships. The hurling championships are already benefitting from a sensible tiered provincial structure.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 7943 - 07/04/2024 20:38:14    2536354

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Provincials discussed on the Sunday Game. Panel agreed that they should be moved to the start of the season. Any talk of more major restructures is pointless because it isn't going to happen. I think swapping them with the league and then only having provincial champions qualify is the way forward. The only other change would be to scrap the PQF and have the top two teams advancing from the group stage. That would free up another week. So last year Mayo, Tyrone, Roscommon, and Monaghan would have been eliminated in the group stage.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 739 - 07/04/2024 23:59:32    2536421

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In reality, a 3 tier system is needed, as exists in club football but since the GAA are so resistant to change, we instead persist with a system that is not fit for purpose. As a Louth fan, if we beat Wexford and then Wicklow/Kildare, our 'reward' is a trimming from Dublin. The likes of Louth belong in an Intermediate championship. Have 3 tiers of 11 teams, and it will lead to a very competitive championship.

PK57 (Louth) - Posts: 1657 - 08/04/2024 09:40:17    2536463

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Replying To Rolo2010:  "Provincials discussed on the Sunday Game. Panel agreed that they should be moved to the start of the season. Any talk of more major restructures is pointless because it isn't going to happen. I think swapping them with the league and then only having provincial champions qualify is the way forward. The only other change would be to scrap the PQF and have the top two teams advancing from the group stage. That would free up another week. So last year Mayo, Tyrone, Roscommon, and Monaghan would have been eliminated in the group stage."
Structure is definitely a mess. They seem to have created a knockout system with no peril!..

Cavan/Monaghan today - both teams are going to be in the last 16 anyway. I also suspect both teams know they wont win the Ulster Champs.. So this may as well have been a preseason friendly rather than the dramatic match it could have been. So for teams 4(?)-16 the provincials are a distraction. For the big teams like Dublin and Kerry they can win them at will. Theres probably some drama for Derry/Galway/Mayo/Tyrone/Armagh but not a lot as their goal isnt a provincial win. Then theres a bit of excitement for the couple of teams who need a provincial final to get into last 16..but if youre trying to drum up interest in whether Clare beat Waterford then its a tough sell..

Instead have provincials up to March, (provincial finals on St Patricks Day??) then the summer is a 4*8 team league. Only teams in Div 1 can win the AI (a problem for traditionalists I know). At end of league a playoff system a bit like the IPL in cricket so something like 4th plays 3rd, winner plays 2nd, winner plays 1st in the final (A little issue here is that the 'league' winners would have 2 idle weeks before the AI final...)

fromcrossthesea (Cavan) - Posts: 2 - 08/04/2024 09:42:17    2536465

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Replying To fromcrossthesea:  "Structure is definitely a mess. They seem to have created a knockout system with no peril!..

Cavan/Monaghan today - both teams are going to be in the last 16 anyway. I also suspect both teams know they wont win the Ulster Champs.. So this may as well have been a preseason friendly rather than the dramatic match it could have been. So for teams 4(?)-16 the provincials are a distraction. For the big teams like Dublin and Kerry they can win them at will. Theres probably some drama for Derry/Galway/Mayo/Tyrone/Armagh but not a lot as their goal isnt a provincial win. Then theres a bit of excitement for the couple of teams who need a provincial final to get into last 16..but if youre trying to drum up interest in whether Clare beat Waterford then its a tough sell..

Instead have provincials up to March, (provincial finals on St Patricks Day??) then the summer is a 4*8 team league. Only teams in Div 1 can win the AI (a problem for traditionalists I know). At end of league a playoff system a bit like the IPL in cricket so something like 4th plays 3rd, winner plays 2nd, winner plays 1st in the final (A little issue here is that the 'league' winners would have 2 idle weeks before the AI final...)"
Would agree apart from the Division 1 winners only.

That would mean at the outset of the year that only 8 teams have a chance of winning Sam. And it would see players from, say Donegal or Armagh this year, Tyrone 2021, Derry/Dublin last year, taking the year out.


The ask for the GAA from the majority of supporters was to keep the provincials (as it represented the only realistic chance of championship silverware for many), but to somehow keep it linked to the national championship.
Linking league and championship was another ask. And the split season to give clubs more summer games was the other one.

They've managed all 3 of those.


I'm not sure the lack of jeopardy is the reason for the wane in interest for these early rounds. . I think they just follow too closely after the league.

Also, we're talking about 1 weekend of what will be a 4-month championship. And while the attendances weren't great, the Waterford and Wicklow wins were massive for those 2 teams. The Cavan v Monaghan game was a proper Ulster Championship game, and the Meath v Longford game was a score fest.

The criticism around the lack of marketing of this weekend is accurate, but the reason the GAA rely on the championship to be self-promoting is because it is self-promoting. I'd fully expect it to pick up from here in all provinces.

cavanman47 (Cavan) - Posts: 5033 - 08/04/2024 10:07:46    2536476

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Replying To fromcrossthesea:  "Structure is definitely a mess. They seem to have created a knockout system with no peril!..

Cavan/Monaghan today - both teams are going to be in the last 16 anyway. I also suspect both teams know they wont win the Ulster Champs.. So this may as well have been a preseason friendly rather than the dramatic match it could have been. So for teams 4(?)-16 the provincials are a distraction. For the big teams like Dublin and Kerry they can win them at will. Theres probably some drama for Derry/Galway/Mayo/Tyrone/Armagh but not a lot as their goal isnt a provincial win. Then theres a bit of excitement for the couple of teams who need a provincial final to get into last 16..but if youre trying to drum up interest in whether Clare beat Waterford then its a tough sell..

Instead have provincials up to March, (provincial finals on St Patricks Day??) then the summer is a 4*8 team league. Only teams in Div 1 can win the AI (a problem for traditionalists I know). At end of league a playoff system a bit like the IPL in cricket so something like 4th plays 3rd, winner plays 2nd, winner plays 1st in the final (A little issue here is that the 'league' winners would have 2 idle weeks before the AI final...)"
Why does everyone propose playing competitions to ckmpletion before starting the next one? You dont see it in other sports. Play any knockout cups interspaced in bwtween league.

KillingFields (Limerick) - Posts: 3532 - 08/04/2024 10:07:59    2536477

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Replying To cavanman47:  "Would agree apart from the Division 1 winners only.

That would mean at the outset of the year that only 8 teams have a chance of winning Sam. And it would see players from, say Donegal or Armagh this year, Tyrone 2021, Derry/Dublin last year, taking the year out.


The ask for the GAA from the majority of supporters was to keep the provincials (as it represented the only realistic chance of championship silverware for many), but to somehow keep it linked to the national championship.
Linking league and championship was another ask. And the split season to give clubs more summer games was the other one.

They've managed all 3 of those.


I'm not sure the lack of jeopardy is the reason for the wane in interest for these early rounds. . I think they just follow too closely after the league.

Also, we're talking about 1 weekend of what will be a 4-month championship. And while the attendances weren't great, the Waterford and Wicklow wins were massive for those 2 teams. The Cavan v Monaghan game was a proper Ulster Championship game, and the Meath v Longford game was a score fest.

The criticism around the lack of marketing of this weekend is accurate, but the reason the GAA rely on the championship to be self-promoting is because it is self-promoting. I'd fully expect it to pick up from here in all provinces."
The poor attendances would suggest supporters don't care about the provincials anymore outside of a few big games in Ulster and Connacht. It was the provincial councils who fought to keep the provincials. Supporters weren't asked. The Munster final last year less than 13000 at it.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 739 - 08/04/2024 11:13:31    2536510

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Replying To KillingFields:  "Why does everyone propose playing competitions to ckmpletion before starting the next one? You dont see it in other sports. Play any knockout cups interspaced in bwtween league."
I look at other sports and their secondary competitions suffer by being played in parallel with the main competition.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4256 - 08/04/2024 11:46:29    2536525

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Replying To cavanman47:  "Would agree apart from the Division 1 winners only.

That would mean at the outset of the year that only 8 teams have a chance of winning Sam. And it would see players from, say Donegal or Armagh this year, Tyrone 2021, Derry/Dublin last year, taking the year out.


The ask for the GAA from the majority of supporters was to keep the provincials (as it represented the only realistic chance of championship silverware for many), but to somehow keep it linked to the national championship.
Linking league and championship was another ask. And the split season to give clubs more summer games was the other one.

They've managed all 3 of those.


I'm not sure the lack of jeopardy is the reason for the wane in interest for these early rounds. . I think they just follow too closely after the league.

Also, we're talking about 1 weekend of what will be a 4-month championship. And while the attendances weren't great, the Waterford and Wicklow wins were massive for those 2 teams. The Cavan v Monaghan game was a proper Ulster Championship game, and the Meath v Longford game was a score fest.

The criticism around the lack of marketing of this weekend is accurate, but the reason the GAA rely on the championship to be self-promoting is because it is self-promoting. I'd fully expect it to pick up from here in all provinces."
They have done an ok job of managing those 3 conditions that you mention but I strongly believe that those 3 conditions having to be met are holding the game back.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4256 - 08/04/2024 11:50:03    2536530

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Replying To KillingFields:  "Why does everyone propose playing competitions to ckmpletion before starting the next one? You dont see it in other sports. Play any knockout cups interspaced in bwtween league."
Certainly playing the Provincials in the same timeframe as the last 4 Rounds of NFL should be tried for a year.

Seanfanbocht (Roscommon) - Posts: 1496 - 08/04/2024 11:57:43    2536533

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Replying To cavanman47:  "Would agree apart from the Division 1 winners only.

That would mean at the outset of the year that only 8 teams have a chance of winning Sam. And it would see players from, say Donegal or Armagh this year, Tyrone 2021, Derry/Dublin last year, taking the year out.


The ask for the GAA from the majority of supporters was to keep the provincials (as it represented the only realistic chance of championship silverware for many), but to somehow keep it linked to the national championship.
Linking league and championship was another ask. And the split season to give clubs more summer games was the other one.

They've managed all 3 of those.


I'm not sure the lack of jeopardy is the reason for the wane in interest for these early rounds. . I think they just follow too closely after the league.

Also, we're talking about 1 weekend of what will be a 4-month championship. And while the attendances weren't great, the Waterford and Wicklow wins were massive for those 2 teams. The Cavan v Monaghan game was a proper Ulster Championship game, and the Meath v Longford game was a score fest.

The criticism around the lack of marketing of this weekend is accurate, but the reason the GAA rely on the championship to be self-promoting is because it is self-promoting. I'd fully expect it to pick up from here in all provinces."
Waterford game is a good example of the problem and the solution. It was a game between the 2 weakest teams in Ireland played in front of 1000 people. I agree Waterford will have gained some satisfaction but that's an argument for them playing teams at their level which is what a league gives.

The argument for Div 1 teams only can win the AI is (I know) a problem but an awful lot of football is played to get around it . I was going to say "and when did a Div 2 team last win" and of course realised the answer is last year(!) but it feels sufficiently rare (and Id argue that if a big team knew their AI status depended on the league maybe you wouldnt get Dublin being relegated). Id compromise on a 10 team Div1 (or maybe 12 with a 2*6 team split)..

fromcrossthesea (Cavan) - Posts: 2 - 08/04/2024 12:34:10    2536548

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The only way to introduce peril into the provincial championships is through some for of Tiered provincial championship.
ULSTER
Limited to 8 counties. Team 9 taking on New York over two legs in a Tier 2. Tier 2 winner promoted. Ulster quarter-final losers going into relegation semi-finals etc.
LEINSTER
Limited to 8 counties. Teams 9 to 11 in a Tier 2 group of 3. Tier 2 group winner promoted. Leinster quarter-final losers going into relegation semi-finals etc.
MUNSTER
Limited to 4 counties. Teams 5 and 6 playing in Tier 2 over two legs. Tier 2 winner promoted. Munster semi-final losers into relegation final.
CONNACHT
Limited to 4 counties. Teams 5 and 6 playing in Tier 2 over two legs. (London in Connacht.) Tier 2 winner promoted. Connacht semi-final losers into relegation final.
FIXTURE SCHEDULING
-1. Allianz Football League finals.
0. Weekend off.
1. Leinster and Ulster quarter-finals. Tier 2 Connacht, Munster and Ulster first legs. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 1/3.
2. Connacht and Munster semi-finals.
3. Leinster and Ulster semi-finals. Leinster and Ulster relegation semi-finals. Tier 2 Connacht, Munster and Ulster second legs. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 2/3.
4. Connacht and Munster finals. Connacht and Munster relegation finals.
5. Leinster and Ulster finals. Leinster and Ulster relegation finals. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 3/3.
6. Weekend off.
7. All-Ireland and Tailteann group stage.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 7943 - 08/04/2024 17:24:11    2536680

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Put money into developing the weaker counties, force their county boards to reformat the championship to the Kerry system and increase the overall level of competition that way.

Knock this rubbishy championship format on the head and make it straight knockout again - this'll give the smaller counties something to actually dream of again instead of this 3 losses before the big boys are out codology.

Expand the league into a home/away system to give more meaningful games to lads and have the leagues semi finals and finals in croke park.

This way lads get plenty of meaningful games in croke park, the teams get plenty of days out, the championship retains its prestige and teams begin to believe they've an outside chance again.

Jjoniel79 (Monaghan) - Posts: 152 - 08/04/2024 18:19:42    2536696

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Replying To legendzxix:  "The only way to introduce peril into the provincial championships is through some for of Tiered provincial championship.
ULSTER
Limited to 8 counties. Team 9 taking on New York over two legs in a Tier 2. Tier 2 winner promoted. Ulster quarter-final losers going into relegation semi-finals etc.
LEINSTER
Limited to 8 counties. Teams 9 to 11 in a Tier 2 group of 3. Tier 2 group winner promoted. Leinster quarter-final losers going into relegation semi-finals etc.
MUNSTER
Limited to 4 counties. Teams 5 and 6 playing in Tier 2 over two legs. Tier 2 winner promoted. Munster semi-final losers into relegation final.
CONNACHT
Limited to 4 counties. Teams 5 and 6 playing in Tier 2 over two legs. (London in Connacht.) Tier 2 winner promoted. Connacht semi-final losers into relegation final.
FIXTURE SCHEDULING
-1. Allianz Football League finals.
0. Weekend off.
1. Leinster and Ulster quarter-finals. Tier 2 Connacht, Munster and Ulster first legs. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 1/3.
2. Connacht and Munster semi-finals.
3. Leinster and Ulster semi-finals. Leinster and Ulster relegation semi-finals. Tier 2 Connacht, Munster and Ulster second legs. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 2/3.
4. Connacht and Munster finals. Connacht and Munster relegation finals.
5. Leinster and Ulster finals. Leinster and Ulster relegation finals. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 3/3.
6. Weekend off.
7. All-Ireland and Tailteann group stage."
Or totally change how the season is structured
You just want to play the league in full first then provincial compwtitions off with qualifiers for teams as theyre knocked out then all ireland series.
That isnt good enough or simply enough of a change for the better

KillingFields (Limerick) - Posts: 3532 - 08/04/2024 18:42:26    2536709

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Replying To legendzxix:  "The only way to introduce peril into the provincial championships is through some for of Tiered provincial championship.
ULSTER
Limited to 8 counties. Team 9 taking on New York over two legs in a Tier 2. Tier 2 winner promoted. Ulster quarter-final losers going into relegation semi-finals etc.
LEINSTER
Limited to 8 counties. Teams 9 to 11 in a Tier 2 group of 3. Tier 2 group winner promoted. Leinster quarter-final losers going into relegation semi-finals etc.
MUNSTER
Limited to 4 counties. Teams 5 and 6 playing in Tier 2 over two legs. Tier 2 winner promoted. Munster semi-final losers into relegation final.
CONNACHT
Limited to 4 counties. Teams 5 and 6 playing in Tier 2 over two legs. (London in Connacht.) Tier 2 winner promoted. Connacht semi-final losers into relegation final.
FIXTURE SCHEDULING
-1. Allianz Football League finals.
0. Weekend off.
1. Leinster and Ulster quarter-finals. Tier 2 Connacht, Munster and Ulster first legs. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 1/3.
2. Connacht and Munster semi-finals.
3. Leinster and Ulster semi-finals. Leinster and Ulster relegation semi-finals. Tier 2 Connacht, Munster and Ulster second legs. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 2/3.
4. Connacht and Munster finals. Connacht and Munster relegation finals.
5. Leinster and Ulster finals. Leinster and Ulster relegation finals. Leinster Tier 2 - Round 3/3.
6. Weekend off.
7. All-Ireland and Tailteann group stage."
There aren't 8 teams worthy of a Leinster championship anymore. The second best Leinster team is mid table div 2. Same with Munster.


It's just not worth it anymore.


Here's how you keep the provincials AND make football games count. This would seriously cut down on the amount of meaningless matches.

League stays as it is.
Top 15 plus Tailteann Cup go into All Ireland series.

All Ireland series is split into two sections.

Northern & Southern.
Northern would basically be the Ulster championship but if all 8 Ulster sides didn't make top 16, so be it and another team would enter from Leinster or Connacht.

Southern Section would still allow for three provincial finals. To qualify you need to be one of the top two sides in your province. If only one side was in top 16 from a province, they automatically win their province.

Top four sides from Div 1 are seeded and kept apart.

The two sections are straight quarter final knockout matches with losers entering an open back door.

So in the quarters of the Southern bracket, you'd see Galway v Mayo, Dublin v Meath and Kerry v Cork for their provincials and one other tie in that section.

Each would be played to the final.
The Northern Section would play to final for an Anglo Celt Cup.

Winners of both sections make All Ireland semi finals.

Losers play each other and the other back door teams play each other for the other semi final spot.

So like hurling, it means only 2 quarter finals.

Less games but each one has bite and fair across the spectrum.

Smaller teams that miss out on a run to provincial finals will cry but the road to a title is still there and lower div titles, Tailteann Cup and FBD league etc can take on more significance.

shaggykev (Donegal) - Posts: 222 - 08/04/2024 19:29:10    2536721

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The provincial championships are a dead duck. No point trying to re arrange them to produce anything except a winner. They are too lopsided and most teams are beat before they even start.

Move them to the start of the season and only allow the winners progress to the senior all Ireland.

Change the league structure to 5 groups of 5 and one group of 6.

Div 1A(5), 1B(5), 2(6), 3(5), 4A(5), 4B(5)

All team play home and away - 8 matches. (10 for div 4)
League finals in 1,3 and 4

All Ireland Qualifiers -
bottom of 1A v bottom 1B - 15th/16th seed
Div 4 winners = 14th seed
Div 3 winners = 13th seed
Div 2 Rup = 12th seed
Div 2 winners = 11th seed
Tailteann cup winner = 10th seed
4th highest points of Div 1A/B = 9th seed
3rd Highest points of Div 1A/B = 8th seed
2nd Highest Points of Div 1 A/B = 7th seed
Highest points of Div 1A/B (not seeded higher) = 6th seed
4th highest league placing provincial champion = 5th seed
3rd Highest league placing prov champion = 4th seed
2nd highest league placing prov champion = 3rd seed
Highest league placing provincial champion = 2nd seed
League Champion = 1st seed

If any team qualifies via 2 ways then 3rd place team in div 2 enters as lowest seed


Knock out all Ireland from there
Open draw knock out tailteann cup

tirawleybaron (Mayo) - Posts: 1140 - 09/04/2024 07:14:14    2536782

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I actually think the Provincials straight knockout moving on to an All Ireland cup semifinal could be a very good secondary competition.

If there's one element that's good about the Provinces it's that teams do get to play against teams at a different level to them.

It's not great from excitement for the primary competition but for the secondary one it's good.

I think then that there can be 2 other knockout competitions played.

One that looks like the old qualifier system with round 4 being the quarterfinals of this second level cup.

A third tier cup for teams beaten in the first 2 rounds of the qualifiers.

You'd want this competition played off over 10/11 weeks have a break week and then start a 15 week All Ireland competition in mid April.

2 tiers, 2 groups of 8.

Keep those knockout competitions separate to the All Ireland championship.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4256 - 09/04/2024 09:14:31    2536803

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Replying To Whammo86:  "I actually think the Provincials straight knockout moving on to an All Ireland cup semifinal could be a very good secondary competition.

If there's one element that's good about the Provinces it's that teams do get to play against teams at a different level to them.

It's not great from excitement for the primary competition but for the secondary one it's good.

I think then that there can be 2 other knockout competitions played.

One that looks like the old qualifier system with round 4 being the quarterfinals of this second level cup.

A third tier cup for teams beaten in the first 2 rounds of the qualifiers.

You'd want this competition played off over 10/11 weeks have a break week and then start a 15 week All Ireland competition in mid April.

2 tiers, 2 groups of 8.

Keep those knockout competitions separate to the All Ireland championship."
There won't be any major changes to this new structure anytime soon. I do think provincials should be separate. It's a flawed sytem. There should be moved to the start of the season though. Then the league follows. I'm not sold on this group stage either with 3 of 4 teams advancing to the knockout. This format is based of a plan by Jim McGuinness but he had the championship stage as knockout only.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 739 - 09/04/2024 17:14:12    2536955

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I've said it before, if league finals are to be retained, the only option to allow breathing space is to replace the group stage with a Round of 16 over two legs.
If there is reluctance to stopping provincial runners-up from advancing to the All-Ireland, the only credible solution is seeding provincial draws based on league ranking to avoid unfair lopsided draws.
Tailteann winners don't get a seeding advantage. Provincial runners-up shouldn't gain a seeding advantage either. Provincial winners should be Seed 1 as is. Seeds 2, 3 and 4 should be based on league ranking.
In a Round of 16 format, provincial winners should be drawn against Seeds 4. Seeds 2 drawn against Seeds 3.
As an incentive for winning the province and performing well in the league, the All-Ireland quarter-final draw should be seeded based on provincial champions and then league placing. The same could apply to the All-Ireland semi-final draw. If Dublin and Derry are provincial champions and the top 2 seeds from the league, they would be kept apart in the semi-final draw.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 7943 - 09/04/2024 18:33:51    2536969

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