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"Calendar of play is the single greatest issue facing the GAA" - Paul Rouse

Ben Finnegan
Ben Finnegan

09:14 23 Jul 2019

Author and UCD history lecturer Paul Rouse has said he believes the current GAA calendar is "the single greatest issue" facing the organisation.

The former Offaly football manager had been speaking on OTB AM about the future of the football championships after writing in the Irish Examiner about the need for a lot of planning and discussion to go into the idea of introducing a B Championship.

He claims that "it is not clear how setting up a B Championship is going to close the gap between the strong teams and the weaker teams. And nobody has offered an explanation in and of itself how it can do that".

He said the current structure and calendar are leading to examples like his native Offaly beginning their inter-county season in November of last year, and ending in June in the qualifiers, labeling it as "insane for the number of games they played."

When asked what could be a current solution to the issues with the GAA calendar, he said, "I think the league and the championship should be run at the same time.

"And I think they should be run as one as a knockout and one as a league. And the league is actually a league, without league semi-finals and finals, I know there's only league finals now. Stop. Let there be a knockout provincial championship. People love the provincial championship.

"It's all very well to dismiss the provincial championship, and it may be boring in Leinster football because Dublin are still winning, but it is a legitimate aim for the other counties in Leinster to try and improve and compete at that level.

"If you're Kildare or Meath, it should be a realistic goal to win a Leinster championship.

Paul Rouse also said that he doesn't believe there will be a proper solution to bridge the gap between the elite counties and weaker counties until there is a lot of planning, "I regret to say the evidence so far is that the leadership to make the decisions that need to be made has not been apparent.

"What there has been is a series of sticky-plaster fixes and talk about fixes and the kind of illusory unicorn chasing of Super 8s and of two-tier championships. As if these are a solution without structural change. Without much better financial arrangements across counties."

 

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