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Sligo GAA Chairman: 'Return to the status quo would be disastrous'

Sligo GAA Chairman Seán Carroll believes that smaller counties can only benefit from the approva...



Sligo GAA Chairman: 'Return to...
Football

Sligo GAA Chairman: 'Return to the status quo would be disastrous'

Sligo GAA Chairman Seán Carroll believes that smaller counties can only benefit from the approval of Proposal B at the GAA's Special Congress later this month. 

A proposed revamp of the current Senior Football Championship structure, Proposal B would theoretically provide a more competitive competition for counties.

Although Seán Carroll explained to OTB Sports that Sligo GAA will officially decide on their position after meeting next week, the county board Chairman believes their best interests would be served by supporting the adoption of Proposal B.

"I believe that we will decide to support Proposal B based on discussions we’ve had previously," he explained in a letter read out on Thursday's OTB AM that can seen in its entirety below.

"My feeling is that a return to the status quo would be disastrous for counties like Sligo as our experiences of recent years underline."

Sligo 30 May 2021; Sligo manager Tony McEntee | Sportsfile

GAA delegates are due to convene at Special Congress later this month where a decision will be made on the structure of the Senior Football Championship.

With Proposal A currently looking very unlikely to have sufficient support, Proposal B has a better chance but still remains someway shy of the status quo being retained in some form or other.

Carroll believes this will only hamper how counties such as Sligo experience the competition.

In Proposal B, he sees the possibility for the GAA to harness what is currently working in the National Football League for the championship summer.

"The National League, certainly in football, is our best competition," Carroll stated. "Radio coverage on the final day as results pour in and calculators are out is one of the best days of the year for Irish sports fans.

"Moving the competition to centre stage, at a more favourable time of the year, will only enhance the excitement and the interest.

"The additional promotional opportunities are significant and the promise of 7 championship games against teams of a similar standard, including at least 3 at home, is something most football counties couldn’t ever dream of.

"There’s a route to the Sam Maguire for everyone and the possibility of securing a national title is closer for many due to the addition of the Tailteann Cup."

Last month, Sligo senior football manager Tony McEntee spoke to OTB AM about his experience of working within the county and the challenges posed by current structural limitations.

Across the last number of weeks, Ulster GAA chief Brian McAvoy also spoke to OTB AM about the impending decision.

Unlike Carroll, McEntee, Podge Collins and Conor O'Donoghue, however, McAvoy is adamant that the GAA would be ill-advised to adopt Proposal B.

You can read the full thoughts of Sligo GAA Chairman Seán Carroll below: 

Sligo GAA will make their decision formally on how we will vote on motions before Special Congress at a Management Committee meeting next week.

Regarding the proposals for the potential reform of the football championships I believe that we will decide to support Proposal B based on discussions we’ve had previously and that’s the position I’ll be advocating for the reasons set out below.

Firstly, I want to state that as a county we will always value our provincial championships and strive to compete and win these competitions. Our last senior success in 2007 was a tremendous boost to the county and we want to compete at that level again within our province as we do at U17 and U20. Under Proposal B the round robin system will allow counties that lose a game to still be in contention and have a chance to learn lessons and apply the fixes in the short term. Concerns about potential waning interest/attendances can and should be addressed by additional marketing/promotion and investment support from Croke Park. Our provincial councils are vital to counties and are much more that organisations who run competitions so their many programmes and supports must be guaranteed to be funded. I think taking this concern off the table would be vitally important in making this decision and would urge Croke Park for clarity on this.

I have spent a considerable portion of my time as a GAA administrator working on CCC’s and studying fixtures etc and I want to compliment the Fixtures Review Task Force on the work they put into their report which was an excellent publication. The split season proposal, which was passed at Congress in Spring, is revolutionary but necessary and in my opinion the only hope of having a manageable fixtures calendar. This was seen as “a step too far” when the report was issued but the intervention of Covid19 meant it got trialed and was immediately heralded a success.

A decision of similar gravity is now before us regarding football championship structures. It is widely accepted that the National League, certainly in football, is our best competition. The radio coverage on the final day of the league as results pour in and calculators are out is one of the best days of the year for Irish sports fans. Moving the competition to centre stage, at a more favourable time of the year, will only enhance the excitement and the interest. The additional promotional opportunities are significant and the promise of 7 championship games against teams of a similar standard, including at least 3 at home, is something most football counties couldn’t ever dream of. There’s a route to the Sam Maguire for everyone and the possibility of securing a national title is closer for many due to the addition of the Tailteann Cup.

My feeling is that a return to the status quo would be disastrous for counties like Sligo as our experiences of recent years underline. Proposal A has a few more guaranteed games but would also be a missed opportunity if adopted. Proposal B might not be perfect but with the appropriate supports mentioned above and potential innovations in the future (“bonus” league point for provincial finalists, possible “neutral” week in league at Croke Park or other venue – think “Magic Weekend” in Rugby League) represents the best option and levels the playing field in some ways. This is a tremendous opportunity to improve our football championships and one I hope won’t be missed.

Mise, le meas,

Seán Carroll – Cathaoirleach, Coiste Contae Shligigh CLG


Read more about

Croke Park GAA Gaelic Football Sean Carroll Senior Football Championship Sligo GAA

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