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Football Format Changes Discussion

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Just an initial thoughts, it seems to me the inter county season is too long due and complicated due to having separate senior league and championship competitions.

The league and championship should be merged in my opinion. The winners of this competition should be considered the All Ireland champions (sorry if this has been discussed earlier, I've only come on to this topic now).

If I had a choice for the specific structure for the football competition I would like to see a format identical or very close to the format of the league about 20 years ago (ie. division 1A/ division 1B; division 2A/ division 2B).
4 teams would be promoted/ relegated between division 1 and 2 every year.
If not the above I'd be also happy to have format the similar to the current league format.

Play provincial championship as knockout format either before or in parallel with the competition as outlined above.

Possibly we could have a break between league group phase (where players go back to clubs for set no. of weeks) and knockout/ finals stage. Break would be similar to what we have seen in champions league.

I've only ran through a possible football format having the league and championship merged but in hurling a joint league/ championship structure would need to cater for its specific needs.

Having a more streamlined inter county competition structure should make it easier to fit into overall GAA season and leave more options as to when it would be played.

bdbuddah (Meath) - Posts: 1374 - 19/04/2024 15:15:19    2539060

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Replying To Whammo86:  "It's a wasted opportunity.

Splitting the field in 4 limits the games between teams at each other's level.

Having a tiered competition and promotion and relegation is an opportunity to play more matches but have them interesting."
If the league and championship are merged into 12:10:10, is it being suggested that only the lower tier winners are promoted?
From my calculations, within the current January to July window the provincial championships can run for six weeks from the end of January. Allowing for a week off between provincial championships and league, the top tier over 11 rounds can run 1, 2, break, 3, 4, 5, break, 6, 7, 8, break, 9, 10, 11, break, quarter-finals, break, semi-finals, break and final.
A suggestion on one podcast was the top 4 having home advantage in the quarter-finals against 5th to 8th. GAA HQ would have to be content with losing Croke Park quarter-finals. The plus side for GAA HQ though is Dublin having at least 5 All-Ireland league games in Croke Park.
A more stringent format might see the top 2 go directly to the semi-finals, with 3rd to 6th in quarter-finals.
The Tier 2 and Tier 3 semi-finals can be played in Croke Park on the same weekend as Round 11. If Dublin are hosting Round 11, possibly the two Tier 3 semi-finals can form part of a triple header.
Lower tier championship finals have more on the line when winner only is promoted. With only two Tier 1 quarter-finals, there is scope for Tier 2 and Tier 3 finals as curtain raisers to a Tier 1 quarter-final on both Saturday and Sunday.
The losers of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 finals could be given a playoff against the second last team from the tier above. "All-Ireland playoff" and "Tailteann Cup playoff". The two playoffs could be curtain raisers for the All-Ireland semi-finals.
(New York a conundrum as always. If they are in Tier 3, possibly 3rd to 5th and New York in quarter-finals, with New York travelling. Tier 2 can probably have top 2 direct to semi-finals, with 3rd to 6th into quarter-finals.)
TIER 1:
* Top 2 reward of semi-finals.
* 7th and 8th should be in the mix for chasing the top 6.
* 9th and 10th in the mix for avoiding 11th or 12th.
TIER 2:
* Top 2 reward of semi-finals.
* 7th and 8th should be in the mix for chasing the top 6 but also avoiding 9th and 10th.
TIER 3:
* Top 2 reward of semi-finals.
* 6th and 7th should be in the mix for chasing the top 5.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 19/04/2024 23:39:00    2539149

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Replying To legendzxix:  "It is a fair shout. O'Rourke is saying though that the provincials should be complete so everyone knows what league position they are chasing to qualify for the All-Ireland."
It's crazy Westmeath are waiting around to see if they are playing for Sam or Tailteann in the AIC group phase, pending Prov performance of lowered placed league teams.

UEFA has a similar, equally crazy system this year - two of the 5th place teams from Italy, Germany or England could earn bonus Champions League berths if results go their way, a heavy reliance on a strong European performance of rival clubs from within their own league.

I think the bonus 5th place berths should apply at the beginning of the next domestic leagues instead so everyone knows where they stand from the start and not be shoehorned in at the 11th hour.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2701 - 20/04/2024 02:30:48    2539155

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12:10:10 seems to the the preferred format for a few people. While many of us might not agree, if GAA HQ want to persist with the provincial link, the top 6 or 7 of 12 could be guaranteed their place in the All-Ireland for the following year. The Tailteann could debatably be offered two All-Ireland spots. Tailteann winner promoted. Tailteann losing semi-finalists entering a playoff semi-final, the winner taking on the Tailteann runner-up in a playoff final. The same could apply for two Tier 3 teams qualifying for the Tailteann.
The provincial link, again if the GAA HQ persist with it, is that the 4 provincial winners can be guaranteed a place in the top 12.
Week 24. Tier 1 Round 11. Tier 2 and 3 semi-finals in Croke Park.
25. Rest weekend.
26 Tier 1 quarter-finals 3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th in Croke Park. Tier 2 and 3 finals in Croke Park.
* All-Ireland playoff semi-final between two Tailteann semi-final losers, higher ranked from group phase at home.
* Tailteann playoff semi-final between two Tier 3 semi-final losers, higher ranked from group phase at home.
27. Rest weekend.
28. All-Ireland semi-finals in Croke Park.
* All-Ireland playoff final and Tailteann playoff final in Croke Park.
29. Rest weekend.
30. All-Ireland Senior Football final and All-Ireland Junior Football final in Croke Park.
* Debatable options.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 20/04/2024 08:05:32    2539164

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Replying To bdbuddah:  "Just an initial thoughts, it seems to me the inter county season is too long due and complicated due to having separate senior league and championship competitions.

The league and championship should be merged in my opinion. The winners of this competition should be considered the All Ireland champions (sorry if this has been discussed earlier, I've only come on to this topic now).

If I had a choice for the specific structure for the football competition I would like to see a format identical or very close to the format of the league about 20 years ago (ie. division 1A/ division 1B; division 2A/ division 2B).
4 teams would be promoted/ relegated between division 1 and 2 every year.
If not the above I'd be also happy to have format the similar to the current league format.

Play provincial championship as knockout format either before or in parallel with the competition as outlined above.

Possibly we could have a break between league group phase (where players go back to clubs for set no. of weeks) and knockout/ finals stage. Break would be similar to what we have seen in champions league.

I've only ran through a possible football format having the league and championship merged but in hurling a joint league/ championship structure would need to cater for its specific needs.

Having a more streamlined inter county competition structure should make it easier to fit into overall GAA season and leave more options as to when it would be played."
Good post, very much agree with your sentiments here.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4265 - 20/04/2024 14:30:50    2539223

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Replying To eslinchickenmaryland:  "I personally don't think NY should be in the championship at all. It is a drain on limited resources having to go there."
Just because they beat ye?
They should be rotated around the provinces to give everyone a run out every 30 years

tirawleybaron (Mayo) - Posts: 1157 - 24/04/2024 04:09:34    2540314

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Replying To tirawleybaron:  "Just because they beat ye?
They should be rotated around the provinces to give everyone a run out every 30 years"
Nope, although that in itself was a dubious exercise. How many of the team that beat us last year are on it this year?

It is an expensive and unnecessary addition to the calendar. If NY gaa pay the entire costs of the team coming over then I'd have them in it.

Otherwise your 30 year rotation idea is a pretty decent one.

eslinchickenmaryland (Leitrim) - Posts: 78 - 24/04/2024 14:28:27    2540423

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I really don't think it's sensible to put much thought into incorporating New York into our championship at the expense of us having a competition that works for Irish based stakeholders.

It's hard to think for instance that they could be accommodated in a more league based All Ireland with Provincials that are decoupled and that shouldn't even come close to being a dealbreaker for that sort of structure if it had broad backing across the association.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4265 - 24/04/2024 15:04:09    2540432

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Replying To bdbuddah:  "Just an initial thoughts, it seems to me the inter county season is too long due and complicated due to having separate senior league and championship competitions.

The league and championship should be merged in my opinion. The winners of this competition should be considered the All Ireland champions (sorry if this has been discussed earlier, I've only come on to this topic now).

If I had a choice for the specific structure for the football competition I would like to see a format identical or very close to the format of the league about 20 years ago (ie. division 1A/ division 1B; division 2A/ division 2B).
4 teams would be promoted/ relegated between division 1 and 2 every year.
If not the above I'd be also happy to have format the similar to the current league format.

Play provincial championship as knockout format either before or in parallel with the competition as outlined above.

Possibly we could have a break between league group phase (where players go back to clubs for set no. of weeks) and knockout/ finals stage. Break would be similar to what we have seen in champions league.

I've only ran through a possible football format having the league and championship merged but in hurling a joint league/ championship structure would need to cater for its specific needs.

Having a more streamlined inter county competition structure should make it easier to fit into overall GAA season and leave more options as to when it would be played."
Looks good and workable.
I've also thought that to streamline, and like hurling, football's KO Prov games could be treated as group ties, with points on offer for each winner as well (1 pt each in extra-time ties).

Also, starting with the end in mind (Stephen Covey) and working backwards - how many total guaranteed league games should each team play in a season prior to a AIC KO conclusion - I suggest 12 (maybe 10 is too short?).

So using your 1A/1B & 2A/2B, teams play 7 group games plus 5 others, blending a fixed number of inter-group and inter-tier (including a few Prov ties) to balance out a mixed quality 12 games for all.

AIC KO
Tier 1 - top 2 in 1A/1B (4 teams) to crossover 'double chance' Prelim SFs (2 winners to SFs, 2 losers to QFs) and both 3rds/4ths (4 teams) to KO Prelim QFs.

Tier 2 - both 5ths/6ths in 1A/1B & both top 2 in 2A/2B (8 teams) to KO QFs.
SF4 and 2 "playoff" winners from 4 QF8 losers (6 teams) play in Tier 1 groups the next year, with 2 playoff losers dropping into the Tier 3 KO QFs.

Tier 3 - both 7ths in 1A/1B & both Tier 2 playoff losers (4 teams) to Tier 3 KO QFs - and both 8ths in 1A/1B & all 3rds/4ths/5ths in 2A/2B (8 teams) to Tier 3 KO Preliminary QFs (crossover 3v4 & 8v5). Tier 3 Finalists play in the Tier 1 groups the next year.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2701 - 24/04/2024 16:21:35    2540447

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Replying To omahant:  "Looks good and workable.
I've also thought that to streamline, and like hurling, football's KO Prov games could be treated as group ties, with points on offer for each winner as well (1 pt each in extra-time ties).

Also, starting with the end in mind (Stephen Covey) and working backwards - how many total guaranteed league games should each team play in a season prior to a AIC KO conclusion - I suggest 12 (maybe 10 is too short?).

So using your 1A/1B & 2A/2B, teams play 7 group games plus 5 others, blending a fixed number of inter-group and inter-tier (including a few Prov ties) to balance out a mixed quality 12 games for all.

AIC KO
Tier 1 - top 2 in 1A/1B (4 teams) to crossover 'double chance' Prelim SFs (2 winners to SFs, 2 losers to QFs) and both 3rds/4ths (4 teams) to KO Prelim QFs.

Tier 2 - both 5ths/6ths in 1A/1B & both top 2 in 2A/2B (8 teams) to KO QFs.
SF4 and 2 "playoff" winners from 4 QF8 losers (6 teams) play in Tier 1 groups the next year, with 2 playoff losers dropping into the Tier 3 KO QFs.

Tier 3 - both 7ths in 1A/1B & both Tier 2 playoff losers (4 teams) to Tier 3 KO QFs - and both 8ths in 1A/1B & all 3rds/4ths/5ths in 2A/2B (8 teams) to Tier 3 KO Preliminary QFs (crossover 3v4 & 8v5). Tier 3 Finalists play in the Tier 1 groups the next year."
I really think 12 league phase games would be too many to maintain an exciting competition.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4265 - 24/04/2024 17:17:23    2540460

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What are the most pressing issues that need addressing?

1. The imbalance between provinces results in teams playing varying numbers of games, with stark differences in standards. For instance, it's not equitable for Kerry to face two hurling counties to secure victory in Munster. Additionally, Dublin's dominance in the Leinster championship has rendered it less competitive and exciting.

2. Conversely, Ulster boasts top-class competition, and losing it would be a travesty, yet the current system unfairly disadvantages teams in the All-Ireland series.

3. reluctance among GAA teams to revert to only two championship matches again yet fans and neutrals crave the excitement and unpredictability that comes with high-stakes encounters. The new system lacks this edge, with too many games diluting the sense of urgency, and tiny gaps between matches stops any anticipation/build up and will impact attendances due to stretched finances.

**Proposed Solution:**

1. **Maintain the League Structure:** Continue with the existing league format. The top 15 ranked teams, plus the previous season's Tailteann Cup winner, qualify for the All-Ireland series.

2. **New All-Ireland Series:**
- **Ulster (Northern) Section:** The top 8 Ulster teams compete for the Anglo Celt Cup. League rankings determine home advantage in the last 8 and semi-final. The final takes place at a neutral venue.
- **Southern Section:** The remaining top 8 teams. The top two from Connacht, Munster, and Leinster compete for their respective titles, provided they're in the league's top 16. Otherwise, the top-ranked team automatically claims the title. If four teams from one province qualify, they remain together on one side of the Southern Section.


- Both sections feature single knockout games.

- The four beaten sides in each section form a group for three additional matches, ensuring every team has at least four championship matches. The top two from each group advance to meet the losing semi-finalists from their either of the two sections.

- The winners of both sections progress to the All-Ireland semi-final.

- The two losing section finalists meet in the All-Ireland quarter-final, with the remaining quarter-finalists comprised of winners from the losing group and section semi-finals.

This proposed structure ensures every match is meaningful, teams have an even number of games, and competitions are more evenly matched. Just imagine the excitement of a championship opening with clashes like Mayo vs. Galway, Kerry vs. Cork, and Armagh vs. Monaghan.

And you could have a Kerry v Dublin southern section final & Donegal/Tyrone v Derry Ulster finals with winners guaranteed a semi final and the loser facing a huge knockout game the following week. And from the other side you'd have loads of evenly matched sides battling to get back to Croker.

Looking forward to your thoughts and feedback.

shaggykev (Donegal) - Posts: 228 - 24/04/2024 19:08:59    2540480

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Replying To Whammo86:  "I really think 12 league phase games would be too many to maintain an exciting competition."
End of Jan to end of July has 26 weeks.

End of season 4 KO weekends played over 8 weeks (one gap week after group stage, one after back-to-back Prelim QFs & QFs and two after SFs, with hurling final after football SFs).

26 less 8 leaves 18 weeks - so I think a 12 weekends on for league/prov games and 6 off is a good "unrushed" workload.

My tiers 1, 2, 3 AIC KO breakdown should provide enough incentive for teams over a 12-game schedule.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2701 - 24/04/2024 23:01:07    2540511

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Replying To shaggykev:  "What are the most pressing issues that need addressing?

1. The imbalance between provinces results in teams playing varying numbers of games, with stark differences in standards. For instance, it's not equitable for Kerry to face two hurling counties to secure victory in Munster. Additionally, Dublin's dominance in the Leinster championship has rendered it less competitive and exciting.

2. Conversely, Ulster boasts top-class competition, and losing it would be a travesty, yet the current system unfairly disadvantages teams in the All-Ireland series.

3. reluctance among GAA teams to revert to only two championship matches again yet fans and neutrals crave the excitement and unpredictability that comes with high-stakes encounters. The new system lacks this edge, with too many games diluting the sense of urgency, and tiny gaps between matches stops any anticipation/build up and will impact attendances due to stretched finances.

**Proposed Solution:**

1. **Maintain the League Structure:** Continue with the existing league format. The top 15 ranked teams, plus the previous season's Tailteann Cup winner, qualify for the All-Ireland series.

2. **New All-Ireland Series:**
- **Ulster (Northern) Section:** The top 8 Ulster teams compete for the Anglo Celt Cup. League rankings determine home advantage in the last 8 and semi-final. The final takes place at a neutral venue.
- **Southern Section:** The remaining top 8 teams. The top two from Connacht, Munster, and Leinster compete for their respective titles, provided they're in the league's top 16. Otherwise, the top-ranked team automatically claims the title. If four teams from one province qualify, they remain together on one side of the Southern Section.


- Both sections feature single knockout games.

- The four beaten sides in each section form a group for three additional matches, ensuring every team has at least four championship matches. The top two from each group advance to meet the losing semi-finalists from their either of the two sections.

- The winners of both sections progress to the All-Ireland semi-final.

- The two losing section finalists meet in the All-Ireland quarter-final, with the remaining quarter-finalists comprised of winners from the losing group and section semi-finals.

This proposed structure ensures every match is meaningful, teams have an even number of games, and competitions are more evenly matched. Just imagine the excitement of a championship opening with clashes like Mayo vs. Galway, Kerry vs. Cork, and Armagh vs. Monaghan.

And you could have a Kerry v Dublin southern section final & Donegal/Tyrone v Derry Ulster finals with winners guaranteed a semi final and the loser facing a huge knockout game the following week. And from the other side you'd have loads of evenly matched sides battling to get back to Croker.

Looking forward to your thoughts and feedback."
What if there aren't 8 teams in the 16 qualifiers from Ulster?

It's going to be rare that there is.

The southern section is way stronger than the Northern section so you've created just reorganised the inequality.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4265 - 25/04/2024 02:44:21    2540520

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Replying To omahant:  "End of Jan to end of July has 26 weeks.

End of season 4 KO weekends played over 8 weeks (one gap week after group stage, one after back-to-back Prelim QFs & QFs and two after SFs, with hurling final after football SFs).

26 less 8 leaves 18 weeks - so I think a 12 weekends on for league/prov games and 6 off is a good "unrushed" workload.

My tiers 1, 2, 3 AIC KO breakdown should provide enough incentive for teams over a 12-game schedule."
I suppose in lieu of 16-16 leading into the 3-tier AIC KO, it could start with 3 divs of 12-10-10, still with 12 games per team. Top half of each div to 'own tier' AIC KO, with the bottom half of divs 1 & 2 joining the AIC KO of 'one tier below' (so KOs of 6-11-10).

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2701 - 25/04/2024 03:47:27    2540521

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In a 26 week season a county should have 2 weeks pre season and 8 weekends off.
So 16 matches in the year (average).
To do that equitably you need the following formats.

2 tier provincial championships (2 groups per province)
3 tier all Ireland championships (3 groups per tier)
3 tier league (5 groups)

In a two tier provincial championship you have (based on 2913 season results
Munster A - Cork, Kerry, Clare
Munster B - Waterford, Tipp, Limerick
Connacht A - Mayo, Roscommon, Galway
Connacht B - Sligo, London, Leitrim
Leinster A - Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Louth
Leinster B - Offaly, Westmeath, Longford, Wicklow
Leinster C - Wexford, Laois, Carlow
Ulster A - Derry, Monaghan, Tyrone
Ulster B - Donegal, Armagh, Cavan
Ulster C - Antrim, Down, Fermanagh

The above 2/3 matches per county in Jan/Feb

League starts in March
Div 1A - Mayo, Tyrone, Derry, Donegal, Armagh,
Div 1B - Galway, Dublin, Kerry, Roscommon, Monaghan
Div 2A - Meath, Clare, Westmeath, Fermanagh, Cavan, Antrim
Div 2B - Cork, Louth, Kildare, Down, Limerick, Offaly
Div 3A - Laois, Longford, Leitrim, Wexford, Waterford
Div 3B - Carlow, London, Tipp, Sligo, Wicklow, New York

4/5 group matches over March and April - Finals on May bank holiday

Provincial Championships (A&B) in May - playoffs and finals
Connacht A
A winner (Mayo) v B winner (Sligo), A R-up (Galway) v A 3rd place (Roscommon)
Connacht B
London v New York - Winner v Leitrim

Munster A
A winner (Kerry) v B winner (Limerick), A R-up (Cork) v A 3rd place (Clare)
Munster B
Waterford v Tipp

Leinster A
Play offs - A Rup (Meath) v C winner (Laois), A 3rd place (Louth) v B winner (Westmeath) - A winner (Dublin) await the play off winners in Leinster final

Leinster B
Everyone else (6 teams) in open draw knock out
Rd 1 prelim Rd, 4 teams play for 2 spots in semi - then semis and final

Ulster A
B winner (Donegal) v C Winner (Down), - winner plays A R-up (Tyrone)
A 3rd place (Monaghan) v B Rup(Armagh) - winner plays A winner (Derry)

Ulster B
Antrim v Fermanagh, winner v Cavan


All Ireland Series - starts in June
Sam Maguire - 4 groups of 3 - top 2 to qfinals
4 Provincial champions, 7 league qualifiers and tailteann winnners
Group 1 Dublin, Tyrone, Roscommon
Group 2 Mayo, Armagh, Monaghan
Group 3 Kerry, Galway, Cavan
Group 4 Derry, Donegal, Meath

Tailteann Cup - 4 groups of 3
Teams 13 - 21 in league plus 4 provincial B championship winners
Group 1 - Leitrim, Down, Westmeath
Group 2 - Waterford, Kildare, Longford
Group 3 - Offaly, Sligo, Clare
Group 4 - Fermanagh, Louth, Cork

Mick O Dwyer Cup - Open draw knockout - winner goes to NYC to play New York in Final and guaranteed place in Tailteann the following year
London, Carlow, Wexford, Laois, Wicklow, Tipp, Limerick, Antrim

tirawleybaron (Mayo) - Posts: 1157 - 25/04/2024 05:49:46    2540525

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Replying To omahant:  "I suppose in lieu of 16-16 leading into the 3-tier AIC KO, it could start with 3 divs of 12-10-10, still with 12 games per team. Top half of each div to 'own tier' AIC KO, with the bottom half of divs 1 & 2 joining the AIC KO of 'one tier below' (so KOs of 6-11-10)."
A 12-10-10 where everyone plays everyone once could make sense. I don't think inter-tier knockout phases are a good idea.

I think it's good just to have the champions be crowned at the given tier based on those entered at the outset.

Maybe promotion places could be at stake for the losing finalist or something to make the final more valuable.

In your other proposal the knockout stages do feel over engineered and that seems to be the follow on from having too many group phase games.

The format seems to draw inspiration from the URC, Women's International Football Euros qualifiers and the AFL. I think for various reasons they are really particularly good frameworks for meeting the needs of Gaelic football.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4265 - 25/04/2024 10:10:31    2540559

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Replying To edu:  "Looking at the overall inter county calendar-the season is now broken down into 4 distinct stages/phases.
2023 looked like this.
Phase 1- Provincial leagues/cups [3 weeks

Phase 2-N.F.L [10 weeks including rest weeks]
Phase 3-Provincial Championships [6 weeks]
Phase 4-All Ireland Championship / Tailteann Cup[11 weeks]
From start to finish there was 30 match days. Potentially a team could play a maximum of 23 games and a minimum of 12 games. So basically there are 2 provincial competitions and 2 national competitions .Could these be reduced to say one provincial and one national competition ?
The match schedule can be rather hectic and irregular for some teams .Take Mayo as an example-played 11 games in 13 weeks-then no games in 6 weeks-then 5 games in 6 weeks.Monaghan this year have a break of 5/6 weeks after losing to Cavan in Ulster.
The All Ireland Championship[the one that really matters ] started on May 20. That was nearly 5 months after the start of the inter county football season.Then for most teams it is all over in 4/5 weeks.There surely has to be a better/alternative way of organizing the season.
One thing holding things back are not the provincial championships as such but the need in having them linked to the A.I.C. Until a couple years ago there was no link between the League and Championship. Did that the affect the attendances or the interest? I dont think so. A lot of talk are about getting rid of the provincials but that would not be the way to go and would not happen anyways. A suggestion would be to merge the provincial cups and championships and to start the season with them. Organize them so that teams would be guaranteed a minimum of 3 games Groups of 3 would be ideal with the top 2 teams advancing to the respective championship knock out stages and the bottom teams in the groups playing off for the Dr. Mckenna Cup/O Byrne Cup/Mcgrath Cup/F.B.D Cup.These secondary cup finals could ideally be played as curtain raisers to the senior final.What about New York in Connacht?-possibly they are given a bye to the F.B.D Cup final. There is always a great appetite for inter county football at the start of the year as it has been 5/6 months since teams have played.So thats the provincials-no link to All Ireland. They have to stand on their own 2 feet.
As regards the A.I.C- There is a structure that already exists within the G.A.A and works fantastically well- that is tiered championships[ Senior Intermediate and Junior] with promotion and relegation between the tiers. It operates in county club championships inter county hurling and Ladies football and camoige. I dont understand why inter county football is such an outlier. Probably tradition and sure look thats always the way it has been.
A idea would be for the N.F.L to be absorbed into the A.I.C. Currently a team is guaranteed 10 games between N.F.L and A.I.C/Tailteann Cup [7+3].The A.I.C would consist of 3 tiers [12--12--8]. Each team would be guaranteed 10 championship games. This would be followed by the knock out stages in each in each tier culminating in 3 All Ireland champions being crowned.
The maximum number of games a team could play[provincials + A.I.C] a team is 19 down from 23 under the current format. The minimum is 13 up from 12. This structure would allow more breathing space in the season as opposed to the current situation.
As it happens Proposal B a few years ago was the provincials at the start of season followed by a league based championship with no link between them. It got about 50% of the vote but didnt get the required amount. It was said at the time that it was the lack of support from the provincial council delegates that prevented the plan from being passed.. Under the current format the provincials have a greatly reduced relevance. All the top teams have a guaranteed place in the A.I.C. In fact looking at last season just 2 teams qualified through the provincials [Clare and Sligo] that hadnt already qualified through their league position. So much for the current relevance of the provincials as regards the A.I.C. The provincials were great in their day[pre qualifier era] as that was the only way of progressing to A.I.C semi finals. That day has long passed."]PROVINCIALS CHAMPIONSHIPS [incorporating provincial cups]

ULSTER
3 groups of 3 [Top 2 in each group qualify - 6 teams] Best 2 group winners to semi finals'
Other 4 to quarter finals.
Bottom team in each group to Dr. Mckenna Cup [3 Teams].

MUNSTER
2 groups of 3 - Top 2 teams in each group qualify for semi finals.
Bottom team in each group play Mcgrath Cup Final.

CONNACHT
2 groups of 3 -Top 2 teams in each group qualify for semi finals.
Bottom team in each group qualify for F.B.D Cup semi final.
Winner plays New York in F.B.D. Cup final.
London rotation continues.

LEINSTER
3 groups of 3 and 1 group of 2 [ 2 legged tie]
7 teams qualify for knock out stages.[Top 2 teams in 3 team groups + winner 2 team group.
Best group winner to semi final.
Other 6 teams to quarter finals.[3 games]
Bottom team in each group to O Byrne Cup [4 teams].
Dublin not to be drawn in 2 team group [for obvious reasons]

Thats the Provincials. A minimum of 3 games per team up to a maximum of 5 games. Each team has a break week during the group stage. So that is 6 matchdays in total down from 9 matchdays under the current system taking Ulster as an example[5 matchdays in Dr. Mckenna Cup + 4 matchdays in Ulster Championship].
With 2 teams qualifying out of 3 - it would be imperative for the winner of the first game to be playing in the second game in order to avoid 2 teams playing in the third game that may both have already qualified.
The season starts with the Provincials with no direct link to the upcoming Championship.

edu (Mayo) - Posts: 39 - 25/04/2024 13:39:53    2540605

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Replying To edu:  "
Replying To edu:  "Looking at the overall inter county calendar-the season is now broken down into 4 distinct stages/phases.
2023 looked like this.
Phase 1- Provincial leagues/cups [3 weeks

Phase 2-N.F.L [10 weeks including rest weeks

Phase 3-Provincial Championships [6 weeks]
Phase 4-All Ireland Championship / Tailteann Cup[11 weeks]
From start to finish there was 30 match days. Potentially a team could play a maximum of 23 games and a minimum of 12 games. So basically there are 2 provincial competitions and 2 national competitions .Could these be reduced to say one provincial and one national competition ?
The match schedule can be rather hectic and irregular for some teams .Take Mayo as an example-played 11 games in 13 weeks-then no games in 6 weeks-then 5 games in 6 weeks.Monaghan this year have a break of 5/6 weeks after losing to Cavan in Ulster.
The All Ireland Championship[the one that really matters ] started on May 20. That was nearly 5 months after the start of the inter county football season.Then for most teams it is all over in 4/5 weeks.There surely has to be a better/alternative way of organizing the season.
One thing holding things back are not the provincial championships as such but the need in having them linked to the A.I.C. Until a couple years ago there was no link between the League and Championship. Did that the affect the attendances or the interest? I dont think so. A lot of talk are about getting rid of the provincials but that would not be the way to go and would not happen anyways. A suggestion would be to merge the provincial cups and championships and to start the season with them. Organize them so that teams would be guaranteed a minimum of 3 games Groups of 3 would be ideal with the top 2 teams advancing to the respective championship knock out stages and the bottom teams in the groups playing off for the Dr. Mckenna Cup/O Byrne Cup/Mcgrath Cup/F.B.D Cup.These secondary cup finals could ideally be played as curtain raisers to the senior final.What about New York in Connacht?-possibly they are given a bye to the F.B.D Cup final. There is always a great appetite for inter county football at the start of the year as it has been 5/6 months since teams have played.So thats the provincials-no link to All Ireland. They have to stand on their own 2 feet.
As regards the A.I.C- There is a structure that already exists within the G.A.A and works fantastically well- that is tiered championships[ Senior Intermediate and Junior] with promotion and relegation between the tiers. It operates in county club championships inter county hurling and Ladies football and camoige. I dont understand why inter county football is such an outlier. Probably tradition and sure look thats always the way it has been.
A idea would be for the N.F.L to be absorbed into the A.I.C. Currently a team is guaranteed 10 games between N.F.L and A.I.C/Tailteann Cup [7+3].The A.I.C would consist of 3 tiers [12--12--8]. Each team would be guaranteed 10 championship games. This would be followed by the knock out stages in each in each tier culminating in 3 All Ireland champions being crowned.
The maximum number of games a team could play[provincials + A.I.C] a team is 19 down from 23 under the current format. The minimum is 13 up from 12. This structure would allow more breathing space in the season as opposed to the current situation.
As it happens Proposal B a few years ago was the provincials at the start of season followed by a league based championship with no link between them. It got about 50% of the vote but didnt get the required amount. It was said at the time that it was the lack of support from the provincial council delegates that prevented the plan from being passed.. Under the current format the provincials have a greatly reduced relevance. All the top teams have a guaranteed place in the A.I.C. In fact looking at last season just 2 teams qualified through the provincials [Clare and Sligo] that hadnt already qualified through their league position. So much for the current relevance of the provincials as regards the A.I.C. The provincials were great in their day[pre qualifier era] as that was the only way of progressing to A.I.C semi finals. That day has long passed."]PROVINCIALS CHAMPIONSHIPS [incorporating provincial cups]

ULSTER
3 groups of 3 [Top 2 in each group qualify - 6 teams] Best 2 group winners to semi finals'
Other 4 to quarter finals.
Bottom team in each group to Dr. Mckenna Cup [3 Teams].

MUNSTER
2 groups of 3 - Top 2 teams in each group qualify for semi finals.
Bottom team in each group play Mcgrath Cup Final.

CONNACHT
2 groups of 3 -Top 2 teams in each group qualify for semi finals.
Bottom team in each group qualify for F.B.D Cup semi final.
Winner plays New York in F.B.D. Cup final.
London rotation continues.

LEINSTER
3 groups of 3 and 1 group of 2 [ 2 legged tie]
7 teams qualify for knock out stages.[Top 2 teams in 3 team groups + winner 2 team group.
Best group winner to semi final.
Other 6 teams to quarter finals.[3 games]
Bottom team in each group to O Byrne Cup [4 teams].
Dublin not to be drawn in 2 team group [for obvious reasons]

Thats the Provincials. A minimum of 3 games per team up to a maximum of 5 games. Each team has a break week during the group stage. So that is 6 matchdays in total down from 9 matchdays under the current system taking Ulster as an example[5 matchdays in Dr. Mckenna Cup + 4 matchdays in Ulster Championship].
With 2 teams qualifying out of 3 - it would be imperative for the winner of the first game to be playing in the second game in order to avoid 2 teams playing in the third game that may both have already qualified.
The season starts with the Provincials with no direct link to the upcoming Championship."]I like a lot of what you are saying here.

I'd a slightly different idea for the start of the season that would have 3 National cup competitions based on a Provincial championship starting point.

4 Provincial championships move on to All Ireland cup semifinals.

A second tier knockout competition in a similar format to the old qualifier system where qualifier round 4 is the quarterfinals of this new Cup.

A 3rd tier cup competition for those teams knocked out in round 1 or 2 of the secondary competition.

Like the National leagues teams are competing to get playing games against better quality opponents as preparation for the main competition.

The main competition would be a 2 tiered championship with 2 groups of 8 per tier moving on to playoffs. Promotion and relegation determined by championship results rather than having a separate league for that which just seems unnecessary.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4265 - 25/04/2024 16:41:33    2540637

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Replying To Whammo86:  "A 12-10-10 where everyone plays everyone once could make sense. I don't think inter-tier knockout phases are a good idea.

I think it's good just to have the champions be crowned at the given tier based on those entered at the outset.

Maybe promotion places could be at stake for the losing finalist or something to make the final more valuable.

In your other proposal the knockout stages do feel over engineered and that seems to be the follow on from having too many group phase games.

The format seems to draw inspiration from the URC, Women's International Football Euros qualifiers and the AFL. I think for various reasons they are really particularly good frameworks for meeting the needs of Gaelic football."
Yeah, I am inspired by URC, UEFA-W & AFL structures.

In particular, I like UEFA-W where they use a similar format for all three qualifying competitions - Euros, World Cup & National League - by just applying promotion & relegation, the tiers are reset for the next qualifiers and the structure becomes easy to understand through continued repetitive cycles. It's a bit like your 'double league' season, one of which is the AIC.

Separately, like hurling, AIC group points for Provincial Championship results would go someway towards making the latter more valuable. Even if there are still some mismatches, these could be more evenly spread for a more equitable national competition.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2701 - 25/04/2024 19:08:55    2540659

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The Munster hurling championship seems to have the magic formula. 5 competitive teams battling it out for 3 places. Big crowds. Cork and Clare looking at knockout hurling already heading into Round 2.
The Dublin championship still seems to have the template for football. Two Round 1 winners playing in Round 2. Round 3 possibly a battle between two teams on 1 win each for a place in the quarter-finals.
SCENARIO-1:
Round 1: Galway beat Tyrone and Armagh beat Westmeath.
Round 2: Galway beat Armagh and Tyrone beat Westmeath.
Round 3: Armagh (2) v Tyrone (2), Galway (4) v Westmeath (0). Galway are already through and Westmeath are already eliminated. The media can focus on Armagh v Tyrone which is a quarter-final playoff. Both games throw in at the same time. TV can only show one.
SCENARIO-2:
Round 1: Galway beat Tyrone and Armagh beat Westmeath.
Round 2: Armagh beat Galway and Tyrone beat Westmeath.
Round 3: Armagh (4) v Tyrone (2), Galway (2) v Westmeath (0). Galway and Tyrone can still get to two wins to knockout Armagh. Westmeath can get to one win to knockout Tyrone and Galway. All to play for.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 25/04/2024 22:09:49    2540680

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