Cork GAA CEO Kevin O’Donovan dismisses the notion that a lack of debate was responsible for the rejection of reforms to the Football Championship structure.
At Special Congress in October, delegates voted against changes to the championship format after Proposal B fell short of the 60% required to pass.
It was reported that some delegates, such as Donegal chairperson Michael McGrath, were in favour of change, but “[didn’t] feel enough debate and discussion has taken place.”
However, such excuses do not wash with O’Donovan.
In his annual report last week, O'Donovan said the current All Ireland Football Championship structure is no longer fit for purpose.
Speaking to Eoin and Ger on Monday’s OTB AM, O’Donovan believes these explanations actually indicate certain delegates’ resistance to change.
“It suited some people to say there wasn’t enough debate because that’s what you do when you don’t want change,” O’Donovan said. “You say you want change, but you need more time and more debate - that’s a classic tactic.”
“With the exception of the opening of Croke Park to ‘foreign sports’, to use the quote, I don’t think any motion ever had more debate around it.”
“We brought in rule changes about cup presentations and various things that weren’t debated at all. This was tossed and turned.”
“I remember being at a county committee meeting two months before Special Congress and begging people not to sleepwalk into Congress. I’m here now, three months before, begging people for the same thing.”
O'Donovan: "How much longer will the players have to wait?"
“Don’t tell me it’s too late to debate it the night before”, O’Donovan added. “I’m ready to debate it now - please, throw in the ball.”
“I think it’s a bit disingenuous when people say they need more time. How much longer are the players going to wait? They’ve had two years of Covid, another year of uneven championships this year. You’re 22, you wake up, you’re 25. How much longer can they wait?”
O’Donovan also believes more could have been done by Croke Park to support those who eventually drafted the proposals.
“I was in the committee with good people”, O’Donovan noted. “We all had different ideas - that was really why two proposals came out, because there were disparate views within committee.”
“To hear some of the shellacking we got since then, I think it would have been good if someone came out and defended the committee.”
“If there was a committee that I appointed to do work, and they were subjected to those types of comments, I’d come out to defend them.”