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Football Format Changes Discussion

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Replying To omahant:  "Have one-step changes been enough? - I just come at changes from a different perspective - regardless of how the GAA or the audience on this forum feels about my ideas, I just present what I'd like, regardless."
As mentioned by someone else, the GAA have to bring many people along with them where they make changes. It has to be incremental changes. The hurling championships going from knockout to round robin wasn't overly complicated. The super 8s instead of quarter-finals wasn't overly complicated either.
The main contentious points at the moment are:
1. No weekend off after league finals.
2. Are provincial champions being sufficiently rewarded?
3. All-Ireland draws before the provincial finals have been completed.
4. The preliminary quarter-finals.
OPTIONS:
1. 4 rounds of league, a week off and then the remaining rounds of league.
2. Possibly provincial finalists should be rewarded with two home games. If teams are knocked out before provincial finals, they are giving themselves an extra away game to negotiate.
3. Some of suggested a partial draw here. After the Connacht and Munster finals, just hold a Round 1 draw for the Connacht and Munster finalists against Seeds 3 and 4. The remainder of the draw completed after Leinster and Ulster finals.
4. Retain or scrap basically. One thing in their favour is that more counties are getting a proper knockout round. The drawback though is that the groups are lacking an edge.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 15/05/2024 17:32:10    2544971

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Replying To shaggykev:  "I'm not totally against this BUT one of the biggest issues with every system that involves the provincials is unbalanced and completely unfair.

We have seasons where for instance…Donegal might have to beat Tyrone & Derry to get to the same stage as Kerry or Mayo in their provinces. And from there Kerry might be playing a Waterford, Mayo v Leitrim whilst Donegal have to play Armagh to make a final.

So we are rewarding Kerry that soft route to an All Ireland quarter final.

That's one of the biggest issues. Leinster itself is kinda a different issue. They have enough teams. Unfortunately we can all see the gap that has emerged, maybe some day it will close but that doesn't seem like happening any time soon and playing it in January in wet weather when Dublin haven't got up and running may give a Westmeath etc a better chance."
My point is that he provincials can and should be fixed. Right now, I'd agree. But it's like the old Simpsons saying - "we've tried nothing and now we're all out of ideas". They haven't even tried to fix them. Rather the opposite. Dublin got so loaded they sailed into the distance. Now front load other teams and when they come back into the pack Leinster may be decent again, and along with Ulster and Connacht, we could have very good provincials that mean the system isn't unbalanced.

Either way, we go to knockout after so teams have to be ready.

That's all my point is. Let's not kill of provincials due to 2 not performing, but try fix the others and leave ourselves with a good Championship. And this should be done anyway - counties should not be abandoned. Has anything ever been tried to up participation, coaching, facilities on a large scale anywhere else?

Loughduff Lad (Cavan) - Posts: 2422 - 16/05/2024 09:28:49    2545026

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Replying To omahant:  "While my preference would be to have the League and AIC combined in one exciting competition leading to a concluding KO - keeping them separate would be OK.

I feel more strongly that, like hurling, Prov ties should award match winners two points and the opponents spread around like in a league to make it more balanced overall (that's why I think this is best achieved by creating a bigger league phase)."
But why do we need to combine League and Championship into one?

Won't even more games to decide a winner make things worse rather than better? What is this actually achieving?

Loughduff Lad (Cavan) - Posts: 2422 - 16/05/2024 09:31:55    2545027

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Replying To SurelyToGod:  "It's better than current format, but doesn't change the fact that Kerry can't possibly find themselves in Round 1.

The most crucial seeding needed is seeding of provincial championships as a whole, where the stronger 2 Provinces enter the AI one round up from the weaker 2. i.e. Kerry, Armagh, Louth, Galway all enter the AI at the same round, while Donegal and Dublin wait in the QF."
Everyone plays round 1.
Taking this year as an example, Kerry, as a 1st seed, would play Cavan, Meath or Westmeath (I'd avoid repeat fixtures in round 1 where possible, so they couldn't play Cork).
Yes, they would probably win this game, but I do think there should be a reward for winning your province.
They would then go into the winners side of the draw, where they would face a stronger team.
I'd have an issue with having the two "stronger" provinces entering one round ahead of the "weaker" ones.
Who decides which two are stronger?
You've already decided in your example that Leinster is stronger than Connacht, which I would definitely disagree with. What happens if/when the power balance shifts and provincial strength changes?

Ciaran359 (Galway) - Posts: 9 - 16/05/2024 12:07:55    2545080

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Replying To Ciaran359:  "Everyone plays round 1.
Taking this year as an example, Kerry, as a 1st seed, would play Cavan, Meath or Westmeath (I'd avoid repeat fixtures in round 1 where possible, so they couldn't play Cork).
Yes, they would probably win this game, but I do think there should be a reward for winning your province.
They would then go into the winners side of the draw, where they would face a stronger team.
I'd have an issue with having the two "stronger" provinces entering one round ahead of the "weaker" ones.
Who decides which two are stronger?
You've already decided in your example that Leinster is stronger than Connacht, which I would definitely disagree with. What happens if/when the power balance shifts and provincial strength changes?"
"....Who decides which two are stronger?...."

Like UEFA's "Club Coefficient" table, this could be formula driven. I suggest a "strength of schedule" mechanism, e g. beating Dublin earns more than beating Down.

"....What happens if/when the power balance shifts and provincial strength changes?...."

The formula leads to the result - a change or not.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2701 - 16/05/2024 14:30:54    2545120

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I still think Dublin and Tyrone had the right idea in 2010, that the provincial winners would go into a champions playoff. Winners going to the semi-finals and losers dropping into the quarter-finals.
In the current system to apply that, the groups would be scrapped. Seeds 3 would take on Seed 4 in Round 1, optional draw for home advantage. Provincial runners-up could have home advantage against Round 1 winners in Round 2. The Round 2 winners would advance to preliminary quarter-finals in Croke Park.
1. Connacht and Munster finals.
2. Leinster and Ulster finals.
3. Round 1 of Seeds 3 v Seeds 4. (Provincial runners-up guaranteed at least a rest weekend.)
4. Round 2 of Provincial runners-up v Round 1 winners.
5. Champions Round (4 provincial winners) & Preliminary Quarter-finals (4 winners from Round 2)
6. Weekend off
7. All-Ireland quarter-finals (2 champion round losers and 2 winners from the preliminary quarter-finals.) With only two quarter-finals, the Tailteann semi-finals could be curtain raisers to each quarter-final.
This streamlined format allows a rest weekend after league finals. It also allows provincial championships to be run over 7 weekends. Provincial rounds can be played every second weekend.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 16/05/2024 17:08:18    2545153

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Replying To Ciaran359:  "Everyone plays round 1.
Taking this year as an example, Kerry, as a 1st seed, would play Cavan, Meath or Westmeath (I'd avoid repeat fixtures in round 1 where possible, so they couldn't play Cork).
Yes, they would probably win this game, but I do think there should be a reward for winning your province.
They would then go into the winners side of the draw, where they would face a stronger team.
I'd have an issue with having the two "stronger" provinces entering one round ahead of the "weaker" ones.
Who decides which two are stronger?
You've already decided in your example that Leinster is stronger than Connacht, which I would definitely disagree with. What happens if/when the power balance shifts and provincial strength changes?"
Apologies, misunderstood your idea, and yes that's a fair concept, but harder to sell.

Every team plays Round 1, but consider this fact. Kerry (2024 Seed 1) and Clare (2024 Seed 2) are seeded in Munster Semi 2025. They each need to win one Championship game to ensure they are at least Seed 2 in the AI draw in 2025. Out of the only four teams they could face in the SF, only one is a Sam Maguire team. The other 3 teams are Division 4.

Compared to Ulster, a team could beat two Division One teams, and still only be seed 4, or even not qualify for Sam.

A couple of pages back I briefly discussed how Provincial Championships can be ranked/seeded, and how this would change every single season. The simplest way, to me, is to sum up each provinces points in the league, and weigh the Divisions accordingly. In my workings, I only counted the top two divisions, as these are the Sam Maguire divisions, and I weighed Division One's points as twice that of Division Two. With this ranking, Leinster came out number 2 ahead of Connacht only on goal difference. All of that methodology is of course up for debate, and I'm sure someone could make it better.

SurelyToGod (Donegal) - Posts: 410 - 16/05/2024 18:49:08    2545177

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Replying To SurelyToGod:  "Apologies, misunderstood your idea, and yes that's a fair concept, but harder to sell.

Every team plays Round 1, but consider this fact. Kerry (2024 Seed 1) and Clare (2024 Seed 2) are seeded in Munster Semi 2025. They each need to win one Championship game to ensure they are at least Seed 2 in the AI draw in 2025. Out of the only four teams they could face in the SF, only one is a Sam Maguire team. The other 3 teams are Division 4.

Compared to Ulster, a team could beat two Division One teams, and still only be seed 4, or even not qualify for Sam.

A couple of pages back I briefly discussed how Provincial Championships can be ranked/seeded, and how this would change every single season. The simplest way, to me, is to sum up each provinces points in the league, and weigh the Divisions accordingly. In my workings, I only counted the top two divisions, as these are the Sam Maguire divisions, and I weighed Division One's points as twice that of Division Two. With this ranking, Leinster came out number 2 ahead of Connacht only on goal difference. All of that methodology is of course up for debate, and I'm sure someone could make it better."
Would the simplest way not be to just seed differently? Like if we reward getting to a final, we should not allow current seeding system in Munster. We reward a side getting to a final by giving them a better chance to a final the next year. In Munster, I'd remove seeding from final, but look at Divisions. If you are Division 1 or 2, you are put on separate sides of the draw. This means to reach a final you either need to be a D1/D2 side, or beat one. Yes, this harks back to the old system of Cork and Kerry on opposite sides (or even Clare if they get back to Div2), but seeing the prize on offer, you really shouldn't be getting to a final so easy. It's a simple worked solution rather than any convoluted one

Loughduff Lad (Cavan) - Posts: 2422 - 17/05/2024 12:25:17    2545246

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Leinster and Ulster have a full set of quarter-finals. Each county has to win at least one game to make the semi-finals. Connacht and Munster have a full set of semi-finals. Each county has to win one game to make the final. There is an argument for Leinster and Ulster semi-finalists qualifying for the All-Ireland series. It would be a fair compromise. All provinces would possibly have to agree to a seeding system for fairness and balanced draws.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 17/05/2024 15:35:53    2545298

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Replying To legendzxix:  "Leinster and Ulster have a full set of quarter-finals. Each county has to win at least one game to make the semi-finals. Connacht and Munster have a full set of semi-finals. Each county has to win one game to make the final. There is an argument for Leinster and Ulster semi-finalists qualifying for the All-Ireland series. It would be a fair compromise. All provinces would possibly have to agree to a seeding system for fairness and balanced draws."
Or change how the all ireland is structured far more than that and not simply play the provincial competitions which determine at what stage people enter the all ireland series.

KillingFields (Limerick) - Posts: 3542 - 17/05/2024 16:51:23    2545308

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Replying To KillingFields:  "Or change how the all ireland is structured far more than that and not simply play the provincial competitions which determine at what stage people enter the all ireland series."
Preferably provincial championships would be standalone competitions. Doesn't look likely however. 4 of the 7 league qualifiers are from Ulster though. There is also an argument that the current league qualification route is providing fairness.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 17/05/2024 17:10:19    2545310

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Replying To KillingFields:  "Or change how the all ireland is structured far more than that and not simply play the provincial competitions which determine at what stage people enter the all ireland series."
Why though?

Loughduff Lad (Cavan) - Posts: 2422 - 17/05/2024 17:55:15    2545315

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Replying To KillingFields:  "Or change how the all ireland is structured far more than that and not simply play the provincial competitions which determine at what stage people enter the all ireland series."
I think this is the key question. The current system has resulted in a huge loss of interest in each of the provincial championships bar Ulster. If you thought attendances at the Munster, Leinster, Connacht finals were bad, wait till you see the empty crowds over the coming 4 weekends.

Perhaps if Munster and Leinster are unsalvageable as competitions then we do need to look at what that means for the concept of provincial football as whole. The lopsided-ness of those provinces have led to overall bad competitions, which fans are refusing to attend. This has a knock-on effect for all counties involved.

On the other hand, Ulster Championship is a consistent ticket seller, and ultra-competitive (Antrim are the only team Donegal haven't played in an Ulster final since 2012). Ulster Championship is relevant on it's own right, and the Final sells as many tickets on its own as the entire Munster Championship. Why would Ulster give up the one thing that has benefited them, now that Kerry and Dublin see that their own situation is unsustainable. Neither team complained when they were sleepwalking into All-Ireland Semi-Finals.

Dismantling the provincials could be losing the only thing giving the inter-county game life at the moment. Let each province decide how they want to run their competition, but the All-Ireland should be seeding the teams accordingly.

SurelyToGod (Donegal) - Posts: 410 - 17/05/2024 17:57:24    2545316

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The open and lopsided provincial draws aren't doing any favours. When the league is a fair ranking from 1 to 32, it would seem fair to use that for balanced provincial draws.
Ideally at least the 4 provincial winners only and the Tailteann winner would qualify directly for the group stage. All others having to go through at least one knockout playoff round..

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 18/05/2024 10:19:19    2545347

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How about starting the season a month later with the provisional championship games first , then the league and finally the group stages of the All Ireland and the Taltainn Cup.. I think it would mean the weaker counties might have a better chance of making an impact in their province as the likes of a Dublin/Kerry/Derry/Donegal and the like might not be completely up to speed as it would not impact their progress later on in the All Ireland series.. I also believe the provincial winners should be the only team guaranteed a group stage with the rest of the places made up from league placings and of course the previous seasons Taltainn cup winners…as regards the league I would dispense with league finals ( only to free up a weekend ) and retain the 2 up 2 down system with the team finishing top declared champions of each division… I would also revert back to in and around the original date for the finals of the All Ireland…. I know that these ideas will have their faults but surely there has to be a better way than what's currently on offer…

ForeverBlue2 (Cavan) - Posts: 2110 - 18/05/2024 15:17:51    2545402

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Looking at some scoreline today. suggests we need a 3 tier Championship.

Seanfanbocht (Roscommon) - Posts: 1578 - 18/05/2024 20:45:14    2545470

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Replying To Seanfanbocht:  "Looking at some scoreline today. suggests we need a 3 tier Championship."
Many people favour 12:10:10. Rome wasn't built in a day. The Tailteann at the very least might need to be split in two for a 16:8:8 split. Tier 2 and Tier 3 could run parallel with Tier 1, with the lower tier finals as curtain raisers for All-Ireland semi-finals. Job done.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 18/05/2024 21:51:09    2545487

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Replying To legendzxix:  "Many people favour 12:10:10. Rome wasn't built in a day. The Tailteann at the very least might need to be split in two for a 16:8:8 split. Tier 2 and Tier 3 could run parallel with Tier 1, with the lower tier finals as curtain raisers for All-Ireland semi-finals. Job done."
Play them on their own and have cheap tickets instead of costing €50 to see a lower tier finals.

Seanfanbocht (Roscommon) - Posts: 1578 - 19/05/2024 11:05:19    2545529

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Replying To Seanfanbocht:  "Play them on their own and have cheap tickets instead of costing €50 to see a lower tier finals."
The 12:10:10 single group format can work with provincial championships retained. The provincial championships would have to be run from the end of January for six weeks. The tiered championships then Tier 1 of 12 teams over 11 rounds, Tier 2 of 10 teams over 9 rounds and Tier 3 of 10 teams over 9 rounds running from the middle of March.
The All-Ireland 12 would be complete after the provincial championships. 4 provincial winners, top 7 All-Ireland teams from the previous year and the Tailteann winner.
The 4 provincial winners would be seeded 1 to 4 based on previous year's championship performance for the fixture scheduling. 5 to 12 would also be on the previous year's championship performance for fixture scheduling. The top 5 seeds and Seed 12 (The Tailteann winner) could be rewarded 6 home games in the fixture scheduling, with all other teams getting 5 home games.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 8000 - 19/05/2024 16:49:58    2545603

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Replying To legendzxix:  "The 12:10:10 single group format can work with provincial championships retained. The provincial championships would have to be run from the end of January for six weeks. The tiered championships then Tier 1 of 12 teams over 11 rounds, Tier 2 of 10 teams over 9 rounds and Tier 3 of 10 teams over 9 rounds running from the middle of March.
The All-Ireland 12 would be complete after the provincial championships. 4 provincial winners, top 7 All-Ireland teams from the previous year and the Tailteann winner.
The 4 provincial winners would be seeded 1 to 4 based on previous year's championship performance for the fixture scheduling. 5 to 12 would also be on the previous year's championship performance for fixture scheduling. The top 5 seeds and Seed 12 (The Tailteann winner) could be rewarded 6 home games in the fixture scheduling, with all other teams getting 5 home games."
Possibly 10, 10.12 would be more indicative of the standard and balance throughout the country

Backheel (Leitrim) - Posts: 148 - 19/05/2024 17:05:10    2545610

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