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Football Format Changes Discussion

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A lot of hot air on here TBH.
People we need a reality check. When was the last time a team below Division 2 won the all Ireland. (we could probably narrow that to Div 1 but I think there are a couple of outliers). Sure every team wants to aspire to play for the Sam Maguire but even allowing 16 teams into it a number of teams will be well out of their Depth. If Cavan, Meath or Louth come up against Kerry or Dublin or Derry say i dont think they will come within 12-15 points of them.
But people want it every way - the romance of a Knock out competition where the underdog can have its day, versus the need for more games to generate more revenue. The league type competition favours the bigger teams. Regardless of what way you cut it you can be fairly sure that Dublin Kerry and Derry will be in the semis and the Final will be contested between two of those 3. what the provinces do and how they run their competitions is of little relevance.

bystanderbill (Wexford) - Posts: 27 - 03/04/2024 16:28:52    2535407

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GAA have created a system whereby now

1. Getting to the league final is seen as a negative.

2. Winning province is no longer the optimal route to Croker. Derry v Donegal in Ulster quarter final should be an epic but in truth the loser might have more advantage as again, winning your province is no longer vital and a battle through Ulster's tough side will again have you potentially weak when it comes to the group stages and knockout.

3. And we don't have do or die football until the prelim quarter finals and by then the season is almost over.

4. Fans get no build up and multiple games in quick succession on one pay packet means attendances will suffer in long term. Cost of living is pinching but wait til we get a recession thrown in on top.

if we are going to keep provinces ie we don't want to diminish Ulster and Connacht still has three teams going hammer and tong, how do we tie all three and make it worthy of winning all three?

Possible Solution
A. League winners get TWO home games in group stages
B. Only provincial winners get into All Ireland series alongside next best 11 teams according to league places and last seasons Tailtean Cup winners
C. Four provincial winners get to choose their groups in an NFL draft style system the Sunday night after provincial finals based on league rankings so highest rank goes first down to fourth picking 1 by 1 until the four groups are formed. Creates wild drama, talking points and gives each provincial winner that feeling of destiny. They also get to choose which of the games they play at home. (They would not be able to choose their beaten provincial finalists again).
D. I'd allow at least a two week gap between league finals and provinces but preferably three weeks for finalists. Means moving All Ireland forward a week or two into August.

shaggykev (Donegal) - Posts: 222 - 03/04/2024 16:46:25    2535409

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Replying To KillingFields:  "No they dont. The provincial councils shouldnt have to all play to same rules about seeding."
That's fine if that's what the majority want but only provincial winners should be qualifying if that's to remain.
If provincial winners only qualify, the Tailteann Cup will have to start after the provincial championships as well. An option there is to split the Tailteann in two, forming a third tier. The Tailteann final and Third Tier final can both be played before an All-Ireland semi-final. The All-Ireland Junior final can be a curtain raiser to the Senior final.
If a Third Tier is formed, Division 4 counties might be ok with that Croke Park route, with league finals being scrapped.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 7943 - 03/04/2024 17:53:14    2535421

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Replying To bystanderbill:  "A lot of hot air on here TBH.
People we need a reality check. When was the last time a team below Division 2 won the all Ireland. (we could probably narrow that to Div 1 but I think there are a couple of outliers). Sure every team wants to aspire to play for the Sam Maguire but even allowing 16 teams into it a number of teams will be well out of their Depth. If Cavan, Meath or Louth come up against Kerry or Dublin or Derry say i dont think they will come within 12-15 points of them.
But people want it every way - the romance of a Knock out competition where the underdog can have its day, versus the need for more games to generate more revenue. The league type competition favours the bigger teams. Regardless of what way you cut it you can be fairly sure that Dublin Kerry and Derry will be in the semis and the Final will be contested between two of those 3. what the provinces do and how they run their competitions is of little relevance."
You are correct. It's no different to most sports where the same cohort are in the finals every year. You'll get the occassional outsider plus some new teams joining the elite like Derry. Others will drop out. I think the format itself is fine. Only two changes I would make are removing qualification for the provincial runner ups or seeding the provinces based on league performance. Plus only top two from the groups advancing to the knockouts, increases the chance of an upset.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 739 - 03/04/2024 17:53:26    2535422

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Replying To shaggykev:  "GAA have created a system whereby now

1. Getting to the league final is seen as a negative.

2. Winning province is no longer the optimal route to Croker. Derry v Donegal in Ulster quarter final should be an epic but in truth the loser might have more advantage as again, winning your province is no longer vital and a battle through Ulster's tough side will again have you potentially weak when it comes to the group stages and knockout.

3. And we don't have do or die football until the prelim quarter finals and by then the season is almost over.

4. Fans get no build up and multiple games in quick succession on one pay packet means attendances will suffer in long term. Cost of living is pinching but wait til we get a recession thrown in on top.

if we are going to keep provinces ie we don't want to diminish Ulster and Connacht still has three teams going hammer and tong, how do we tie all three and make it worthy of winning all three?

Possible Solution
A. League winners get TWO home games in group stages
B. Only provincial winners get into All Ireland series alongside next best 11 teams according to league places and last seasons Tailtean Cup winners
C. Four provincial winners get to choose their groups in an NFL draft style system the Sunday night after provincial finals based on league rankings so highest rank goes first down to fourth picking 1 by 1 until the four groups are formed. Creates wild drama, talking points and gives each provincial winner that feeling of destiny. They also get to choose which of the games they play at home. (They would not be able to choose their beaten provincial finalists again).
D. I'd allow at least a two week gap between league finals and provinces but preferably three weeks for finalists. Means moving All Ireland forward a week or two into August."
A. If the winner of each division is rewarded an extra home game in the All-Ireland or Tailteann Cup, provincial winners should also be rewarded an extra home game. If a team wins both their division and province, grant them the double reward of two extra home games.
B. Agreed on provincial winners only qualifying, especially if they persist on lopsided open draws.
C. Not a chance. Motivation to the opposition.
D. League finals can be scrapped of a Third Tier is created. The All-Ireland quarter-finals are already in Croker Park. The Tailteann semi-finals as they are and the Third Tier semi-finals can also be played in Croke Park on the weekend before the quarter-finals. If Dublin unexpectedly are hosting a Preliminary quarter-final, it can form part of a triple header with the Third Tier semi-finals on the Saturday. The Tailteann semi-finals can continue on the Sunday.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 7943 - 03/04/2024 19:09:28    2535428

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Replying To CeachtPeile:  "Only seven teams are guaranteed entry to the Sam Maguire via the league, teams 1 to 6 in Division 1 and the Division 2 champions. Automatically giving the Division 3 champions (Team 15 in the league ranking) a place would mean that, in the most extreme case, potentially seven teams would be disdvantaged. It does not make sense and is totally unfair as a proposal. It also could incentivise a team to get themselves relegated from Division 2, for example, the likes of Kildare who have a strong chance of winning Division 3 next year."
Your point being - Team 6/Proposal B issue on steroids :)

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2664 - 03/04/2024 23:02:51    2535476

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Replying To legendzxix:  "That's fine if that's what the majority want but only provincial winners should be qualifying if that's to remain.
If provincial winners only qualify, the Tailteann Cup will have to start after the provincial championships as well. An option there is to split the Tailteann in two, forming a third tier. The Tailteann final and Third Tier final can both be played before an All-Ireland semi-final. The All-Ireland Junior final can be a curtain raiser to the Senior final.
If a Third Tier is formed, Division 4 counties might be ok with that Croke Park route, with league finals being scrapped."
8-team Third-tier/Div 4 AIC Cup winner goes up to Div 3 with Div 4 League top 2 (without Final).
8-team Second-tier/Div 3 AIC Tailteann Cup winner goes up to Div 2 with Div 3 League top 2 (without Final).
16-team First-tier/Divs 1&2 AIC Sam winner goes/stays up in Div 1 with Div 2 League top 2.

So, from each lower div, the Cup winner could be a third promoted team, or repeat league top 2.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2664 - 03/04/2024 23:34:49    2535480

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Replying To legendzxix:  "That's fine if that's what the majority want but only provincial winners should be qualifying if that's to remain.
If provincial winners only qualify, the Tailteann Cup will have to start after the provincial championships as well. An option there is to split the Tailteann in two, forming a third tier. The Tailteann final and Third Tier final can both be played before an All-Ireland semi-final. The All-Ireland Junior final can be a curtain raiser to the Senior final.
If a Third Tier is formed, Division 4 counties might be ok with that Croke Park route, with league finals being scrapped."
How about each year:
4 League divs of 8, followed by 4 AIC Tiers of 8:

League with 4 divs of 8 (2 up/2 down, no finals, before AIC) and leads to:
AIC 4 tiers of 8 (each with 2 groups of 4, leading to SFs and Final 2 go up, both 4ths relegated, for next year's league).

Teams could go up or down two divs in the same year, go up or down one div only, or stay put with or without one promotion and one relegation.
This could provide a nice ebb & flo.
Max games per team 7+5=12 + Prov Champp
Min games per team 7+3=10 + Prov Champp

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2664 - 04/04/2024 00:28:52    2535486

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Three options in no particular order to create that free weekend between league and championship.
1. Scrapping the league finals. Not my preferred option but it is an option.
OR 2. Replacing the group stages with a Round of 16 over two legs.
OR 3. Limiting the Leinster and Ulster championships to 8 teams each. Limiting the Connacht and Munster championships to 4 teams each. All other counties in a Provincial Tier 2. Provincial finalists qualifying. As Leinster and Ulster would have an extra round, the Leinster and Ulster runners-up also qualifying. With Option-3, provincial winners Seed 1 and all other counties seeded on league placing.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 7943 - 04/04/2024 16:37:55    2535659

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I don't think the format is as broken as many on here say. The change I'd make would be to run the league and provincial championships along side each other - with the final round of the league taking place after the provincial finals wrap up. That way all teams will know exactly what they're playing for.

I think the format is working well - yes we will see lower ranked teams getting in on the basis of a luckier provincial draw - but that's the case in so many sports.

I believe that the main driver of the problems is the fixture pile up caused by forcing 8 months of action into 6 months - with the majority of counties finished after 5.

brianb (Kildare) - Posts: 295 - 05/04/2024 17:36:44    2535894

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Replying To brianb:  "I don't think the format is as broken as many on here say. The change I'd make would be to run the league and provincial championships along side each other - with the final round of the league taking place after the provincial finals wrap up. That way all teams will know exactly what they're playing for.

I think the format is working well - yes we will see lower ranked teams getting in on the basis of a luckier provincial draw - but that's the case in so many sports.

I believe that the main driver of the problems is the fixture pile up caused by forcing 8 months of action into 6 months - with the majority of counties finished after 5."
Would you favour a 'doubling up' of results - e.g. Cavan v Monaghan this weekend counts towards the League or AIC group stage as well? You could keep all the competitions but they wouldn't be as rushed as there'd be fewer games.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2664 - 05/04/2024 21:45:20    2535936

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The league could be reduced to 6 rounds. The provincial championships then in a tiered round robin format, providing the qualification to the All-Ireland series.
PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Connacht - 1 group of 4. Top 2 to final and All-Ireland series. 4th place relegated.
Munster - 1 group of 4. Top 2 to final and All-Ireland series. 4th place relegated.
Leinster - 2 groups of 4. Top 2. Top 2 to semi-finals and All-Ireland series. 4th place into relegation final.
Ulster - 2 groups of 4. Top 2 to semi-finals and All-Ireland series. 4th place into relegation final.
PROVINCIAL TIER 2
Connacht - 2 counties over two legs. Winner promoted.
Munster - 2 counties over two legs. Winner promoted.
Leinster - 1 group of 3. Group winner promoted.
Ulster - 2 counties over two legs. Winner promoted. (New York transferring to Ulster.)
ALL-IRELAND SERIES (16 teams)
4 provincial winners
4 provincial runners-up
4 Leinster and Ulster semi-finalists
3 of 6 provincial championship third placed team winners after a playoff.
1 Tailteann Cup winner from the previous year.
TAILTEANN CUP (8 teams)
3 of 6 provincial championship third placed team losers after a playoff.
4 Provincial Tier 2 winners
All-Ireland Tier 3 winner.
ALL-IRELAND TIER 3 (9 teams)
4, 5 or 6 fourth placed teams from the provincial championships.
5, 4 or 3 Provincial Tier 2 counties who missed out on promotion.
9 teams in the third tier. 1 Tailteann winner will be in the All-Ireland. 1 previous Tier 3 winner will be in the Tailteann at least.
CAVEATS
Leinster third placed teams should playoff against each other.
Ulster third placed teams should playoff against each other.
The Connacht and Munster third placed teams should playoff against each other.
If the Tailteann winner finishes 3rd in their province, there would be playoff opponent get a bye to the All-Ireland series.
If the Tailteann Cup has a vacant spot or two vacant spots, the 4th placed counties in Leinster and Ulster that win the relegation finals should be given priority based on league ranking.
FIXTURE PLANNING BASED ON CURRENT SCHEDULING
1/28 NFL 1
2/04 NFL 2
2/11
2/18 NFL 3
2/25 NFL 4
3/03
3/10 NFL 5
3/17 NFL Finals
3/24
3/31 Provincial Round 1
4/07 Provincial Round 2
4/14
4/21 Provincial Round 3
4/28 Leinster and Ulster Semi-finals
5/05 Connacht and Munster Provincial Finals
5/12 Leinster and Ulster Provincial Finals
5/19
5/26 All-Ireland Round 1
6/02 All-Ireland Round 2
6/09
6/16 All-Ireland Round 3
6/23 All-Ireland Preliminary Quarter-finals
6/30 All-Ireland Quarter-finals
7/07
7/14 All-Ireland Semi-finals
7/21
7/28 All-Ireland Final

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 7943 - 06/04/2024 09:25:57    2535958

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Replying To omahant:  "Your point being - Team 6/Proposal B issue on steroids :)"
The point being that no structure should allow teams from a lower division to leapfrog teams above them, except for promoted teams outranking relegated teams. Such a structure effectively incentivises relegation. It was the structure used in the National Football League for many years whereby teams from all divisions qualified for the finals and it is sensible that that is no longer the case.

I think it is different when a lower ranked team in the league leapfrogs a higher team by virtue of getting to a provincial final as that is clearly a separate qualification route for the final 16. It does though create anomalies due to the different standards and sizes of the provinces. But that happens also in, for example soccer, where the 48 best teams in the world will not be at the next World Cup, due to the separate qualification pathways based on the six confederations, which are not of equal standard or size.

CeachtPeile (Cavan) - Posts: 104 - 06/04/2024 11:35:10    2535976

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Replying To brianb:  "I don't think the format is as broken as many on here say. The change I'd make would be to run the league and provincial championships along side each other - with the final round of the league taking place after the provincial finals wrap up. That way all teams will know exactly what they're playing for.

I think the format is working well - yes we will see lower ranked teams getting in on the basis of a luckier provincial draw - but that's the case in so many sports.

I believe that the main driver of the problems is the fixture pile up caused by forcing 8 months of action into 6 months - with the majority of counties finished after 5."
I mean, the 8 months of action has to be fit into 6 months though because even with that club county championships are still only being given 3 months.

That's the big issue in the structure for me. There are too many games. The season needs to be simplified.

League, league finals, Provincial championships, All Ireland group stages moving to a 12 team knockout round is all too much.

You can tell it's a season designed by committee where zero sacrifice is being made to any individual stakeholder.

It's like when Homer Simpson designed a car for his long lost brother and just kept adding bits to it.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 4256 - 07/04/2024 11:32:59    2536167

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Replying To CeachtPeile:  "The point being that no structure should allow teams from a lower division to leapfrog teams above them, except for promoted teams outranking relegated teams. Such a structure effectively incentivises relegation. It was the structure used in the National Football League for many years whereby teams from all divisions qualified for the finals and it is sensible that that is no longer the case.

I think it is different when a lower ranked team in the league leapfrogs a higher team by virtue of getting to a provincial final as that is clearly a separate qualification route for the final 16. It does though create anomalies due to the different standards and sizes of the provinces. But that happens also in, for example soccer, where the 48 best teams in the world will not be at the next World Cup, due to the separate qualification pathways based on the six confederations, which are not of equal standard or size."
To your point - Wellington or Auckland is virtually guaranteed a soccer World Club Cup berth each year, given Oceania's lack of competition (like Galway in 70s/80s AI SHC). Thousands of teams in other regions don't have that privilege.

I would argue, however, that my 'doubling up' of results eliminates the "anomalies" you mention - a Prov win counts as two 'league' points and other Prov teams would play those opponents too to determine the top 16 qualifies for the AIC regardless of Prov Finalists. Given Prov Champs win 2-4 Prov ties (4-8 pts), these would count toward AIC qualification just as other teams compete for league points only. The Prov imbalance would be countered with each team playing a similar mixed-quality schedule with the overall match record determining whose worthy to advance.

'Doubling up' doesn't seem popular on this forum. On a small scale, imagine the 4 league finals played in the AIC group phase (3 in separate Tier 1 groups, Div 4 in Tier 2). It saves a week without changing any competition structures.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 2664 - 07/04/2024 14:24:13    2536194

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Replying To Whammo86:  "I mean, the 8 months of action has to be fit into 6 months though because even with that club county championships are still only being given 3 months.

That's the big issue in the structure for me. There are too many games. The season needs to be simplified.

League, league finals, Provincial championships, All Ireland group stages moving to a 12 team knockout round is all too much.

You can tell it's a season designed by committee where zero sacrifice is being made to any individual stakeholder.

It's like when Homer Simpson designed a car for his long lost brother and just kept adding bits to it."
Problem is that you can't agreement on what competition to cut or merge. A lot of people want to keep the league because it pits evenly matched teams against eachother. But others also want to retain a knockout championship. And then you have the provincial councils who want let their competitions be pushed off to the side. This new format tried to please everyone.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 739 - 07/04/2024 14:34:46    2536195

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Replying To Whammo86:  "I mean, the 8 months of action has to be fit into 6 months though because even with that club county championships are still only being given 3 months.

That's the big issue in the structure for me. There are too many games. The season needs to be simplified.

League, league finals, Provincial championships, All Ireland group stages moving to a 12 team knockout round is all too much.

You can tell it's a season designed by committee where zero sacrifice is being made to any individual stakeholder.

It's like when Homer Simpson designed a car for his long lost brother and just kept adding bits to it."
The homer Simpson line is bang on.

We all have different tinkers to it but nobody can agree an exact ideal renewal. Provincial then groups which reduce 16 to 12 is lame and takes too many games in top of league.
I fear we are basically getting ourselves in circles because we know Ulster is brilliant but the next few years will weaken its intensity.

If we had 8 teams battle it out in Ulster and the other 8 in a combined other side leading to all Ireland quarter finals a little like hurling would probably be best scenario overall.

shaggykev (Donegal) - Posts: 222 - 07/04/2024 15:11:30    2536199

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Speaking of the format, is there any value in that Cavan win today due to the format? I don't think there is. Cavan will likely lose to Tyrone Donegal or Derry, so won't make an Ulster final. Monaghan will be a 3seed, with their 2024 div1 status. Cavan might only be a 4seed, being a div2 side. If Cavan wind up a 4seed and Monaghan a 3seed, today's win for Cavan was as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. Another format anomaly?

Pope_Benedict (Galway) - Posts: 3546 - 07/04/2024 17:45:55    2536244

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Replying To Pope_Benedict:  "Speaking of the format, is there any value in that Cavan win today due to the format? I don't think there is. Cavan will likely lose to Tyrone Donegal or Derry, so won't make an Ulster final. Monaghan will be a 3seed, with their 2024 div1 status. Cavan might only be a 4seed, being a div2 side. If Cavan wind up a 4seed and Monaghan a 3seed, today's win for Cavan was as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. Another format anomaly?"
There's value in it for Cavan in pursuit of an Ulster title, the record title holders. The 2020 Ulster champions weren't tipped to win today. Nor were the footballers of Waterford and Wicklow. If we're going to set up a seeded 'format' based on form and try and have lovely even sided games maybe we should get a computer to pick the finalists based on statistics, skip the whole championship and just have a final. Or we could just let the so called favourites prove their worth on the day and have a few memorable upsets and celebrate that on the day and let the next days results look after themselves.

GreenandRed (Mayo) - Posts: 7402 - 07/04/2024 18:25:00    2536270

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Replying To GreenandRed:  "There's value in it for Cavan in pursuit of an Ulster title, the record title holders. The 2020 Ulster champions weren't tipped to win today. Nor were the footballers of Waterford and Wicklow. If we're going to set up a seeded 'format' based on form and try and have lovely even sided games maybe we should get a computer to pick the finalists based on statistics, skip the whole championship and just have a final. Or we could just let the so called favourites prove their worth on the day and have a few memorable upsets and celebrate that on the day and let the next days results look after themselves."
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.

Pope_Benedict (Galway) - Posts: 3546 - 07/04/2024 19:08:56    2536317

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