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Topics - onefineday

I've touched on this in the success or failure of the early championship thread, but as the big throw-in draws closer, I thought it might be worth asking for opinions.
Will the big guns give a toss about the provincial championships?  If so, why? What real incentive is there to win your province anymore?  Might the pre-season tournaments like the McGrath cup, McKenna etc actually be more useful than winning your province (okay, a step too far with that one).

In my opinion, the provinces will still have merit for the teams who haven't already qualified for the All Ireland or those like Kildare and Meath who realise there's every chance they'll be Tailtean bound, but for all the other qualifiers, provincial success might actually leave them at a disadvantage from a seeding point of view and would very likely leave them at a disadvantage from a squad fitness and injury perspective. 
From an injury p.o.v the more matches, the more chances of injuries occurring, fitness wise, it'll be difficult to play provincial football right up until early or mid May and then start into the All Ireland series 2 weeks later.  Would it be better to lose early, maybe win one game and lose your provincial semi, then get a month off for a good uninterrupted block of preparation before starting on the All Ireland series?
From a seeding p.o.v, do you really want to be a 2nd seed and be guaranteed to avoid the losing Connacht, Leinster or Munster finalists?

It'll be interesting to find out, but those teams with serious ambitions of winning an All Ireland shouldn't be putting too much emphasis on a provincial title.
And of course we all remember the joyous scenes from the past when counties have won provinces, but comparing a Westmeath win in 2004 with a Longford title in 2025 will not be comparable as the value and prestige of the tournament will have been seriously devalued in the interim.  It'll be like the McKenna cup, once it was incredibly prestigous and winning was enough to make a season a success, but as the efforts teams were putting into winning it reduced and other competitions increased in prestige, its value waned.  That's where I see the provinces going, we'll see more of the less traditionally successful counties winning as they will still be all out to win their province (both to qualify for the All Ireland and for the trophy itself), but the big guns will not be too pushed at best. 
Donegal great Martin McHugh claims Gaelic football is at a concerning "crossroads", with defensive tactics ruining the enjoyment of the game for "98% or 99%" of people.

The 1992 All-Ireland winner said he is particularly "fearful" for club football" which he reckons is "terrible in all counties, not just Ulster".

McHugh, father of current Donegal star Ryan, was speaking at the launch of the Allianz Football League just hours after watching Letterkenny IT beat UCD by 0-7 to 0-6 in a Sigerson Cup arm wrestle on Tuesday evening.

He was aghast that, in perfect conditions, the score was just 0-2 to 0-1 at half-time, while he said the second half of the recent Donegal-Derry McKenna Cup semi-final almost put him to sleep.

McHugh believes one particular rule change is badly needed to help rescue the game: That teams must keep at least three attackers high up the pitch at all times.

"I think clubs are following county football and I think club football, really, it's terrible to watch and I've watched a lot of club football," said McHugh. "They're trying to copy the county teams and they're not capable of doing it because they haven't got the players to do it.

"So I think definitely, Gaelic football, if people are going to be paying money in to watch it, or paying money to watch streaming and everything else, it's at a crossroads.

"I've been talking to people about this, they're going to have to take in a rule that we keep three players up the field at all times.

"Now people say about not [allowing] kicking the ball back, maybe that will come into it and I would also take away the forward mark and I would have it that each team would have to keep three players up the field at all times.

"I think we need that in Gaelic football at the minute because it's not a great spectacle. If you're big into tactics and big into that, you may enjoy it... 1% will study all that end of it, the other 98% or 99% just go for enjoyment.

"We want to see goals, we want to see enjoyment. That definitely has gone out of Gaelic football at the minute."

McHugh, father of 2012 All-Ireland winner Mark, isn't convinced the players even enjoy the way the game is being played.

"Maybe the players will tell you they do enjoy it, I don't know, I find it hard to think that they are enjoying the way football is at the minute," he said.

"Gaelic football, to me, seems to have gone, tactically, that you stop the good player and let the so-called weaker players have the ball all the time, let them have the ball.

"If you're not going to see our good players playing football then we have to, from a rules point of view, take in something that's going to help our good players to shine."

McHugh, who managed Cavan to Ulster success in 1997, feels the game is moving towards a version of rugby league.

"I'm very fearful for club football because I've been at a lot of club games; club football is terrible in all counties, not just Ulster, in all counties," said the pundit.

"It's copying inter-county football and they're not capable of doing it and it makes for a terrible spectacle."

Speaking about Letterkenny IT's surprise win over UCD in Convoy on Tuesday evening, which secured a Sigerson Cup quarter-final spot, McHugh said it was a difficult watch.

"We had 40 basically inter-county players playing a game on a perfect night, on a perfect pitch, everything perfect, and the game ended seven points to six," he sighed.

"I think it was two points to one at half-time. In the second half of the Derry-Donegal game in the McKenna Cup, you could have went to sleep. That's just the way football is. People say it's going like rugby league; it definitely is the way it's being played."

I have to say I agree completely.  What surprises me is how few people seem to agree, I know this board isn't necessarily representative of the 98% and may be more aligned with the 1% who find it tactically intriguing (and I can see that too at high level intercounty - but it may be the intensity and athleticism of what's on show disguises the offering at times), but is there anything less watchable than what would be decent club teams cancelling each other?
Two teams thinking they can play Dublin style 'keep-ball' (a curse on the game at any level tbh), giving defences time to set up etc... 
McHugh gives some examples, and he's right, it's not just Ulster, it's everywhere, the Dublin county final being another fine example.  I saw a few other Dublin club games this year, same thing, teams (with healthy sprinklings of all ireland medals) cancelling each other, defending en-masse and taking their frees. 

Even for young players, I know a number of young lads who are on underage development squads, tactics are very much part of the offering, remove spontaneity, protect possession, play to the gameplan - it really takes the fun out of it for them.  Yes, the possibility of pulling on a county jersey in championship keeps them there, but there's little enjoyment - and this for the 15, 16 and 17yo.

As a starting point, what is the consensus on here, do we need changes?  Do people find much of what is on view appealing to watch?  Or do many still hold the view that our game is fine and what we need is for people to stop tinkering with the rules?
Indeed, am I now the old lad who pined for the catch and kick game of the 50's, who I used to decry as being out of touch when I kicked ball 20 odd years ago??

I'm not sure what the answer is, but anything is worth trying in my opinion, 3 men always up is a start, I would also consider not allowing teams to go back over their own half way line again, keeping keepers inside their own 45 (no more free kicks - or at worst giving 30 secs to take a free from the moment of awarding it).  The forward mark seemed like a good idea, but was flawed in definition which allowed people to take advantage of it with short passes into the chest, so time to get rid I think.
GAA Discussion / Amended Proposal B
November 24, 2021, 12:34:14 AM
Folks, it's that time of year again - people with too much time on their hands sit down and draw up their championship proposals!

For what it's worth, here's mine.  Like many on here I guess I followed the Proposal B debate pretty closely and with much interest.  I could probably have lived with it, but it had some pretty major flaws in my opinion, none more so than the relegation of provincial championships to pre-season status.  For that reason my proposal provides a strong incentive to take provincials seriously, but ultimately, allows for the primacy of the league competition.
So have a look and let me know your thoughts - but go easy, please!!

Address pressing concern about loss of prestige in provincial championships and ensure a healthy level of interest from supporters, players and management for provincial championships.
Remove objections around the 6th place D1 team not progressing.
Ensure fewer potential dead rubber games in latter rounds of league.
Reward Tailteann Cup winners


Move forward with Proposal B, largely as presented.

Add a 'play-in' round which will allow for a link between provincial championships and the new All Ireland championship.

Design of All Ireland Championship
•   Top 3 teams in Div 1 qualify for All Ireland quarter finals.
•   Top team in Div 2 qualifies for All Ireland quarter final.
•   Teams 4, 5 and 6 in Div 1 qualify for All Ireland quarter final play-off.
•   Team 2 in Div 2 qualifies for All Ireland quarter final play-off.
•   Tailteann Cup winners previous year qualifies for All Ireland quarter final play-off.
•      Div 3 and Div 4 winners qualify for 'play-in' game.
•   Highest ranked/furthest progressing team in each province who does not qualify via league placing qualifies for 'play-in' round.

Play-In round

Game A - Div 3 winners v Div 4 winner
Game B - Ulster championship qualifier v Munster championship qualifier
Game C - Leinster championship qualifier v Connacht championship qualifier.

Quarter Final Play-offs

Game 1: Game A winner v 2nd placed Div 2
Game 2: Game B winner v 5th Div 1
Game 3: Game C winner v 6th Div 1
Game 4: Tailteann Cup winners previous year v 4th Div 1

Quarter Finals

QF1: 1st Div 1 v Game 1 winner
QF2: 2nd Div 1 v Game 3 winner
QF3: 3rd Div 1 v Game 2 winner
QF4: Game 4 winner v Div 2 winner

Semi Finals
1 v 4
2 v 3

To my mind my design gives the following benefits:

•   Ensures interest in provincial championships as there is a genuine incentive available for the furthest progressing team.
•   Addresses the issue whereby 6th placed team in Div 1 is eliminated from the championship.
•   Every team has 2 potential routes to qualify – there's no real excuse for those who don't make it.
•   The furthest progressing team in each provincial championship who does not qualify via the league cannot be known until the league has concluded.
•   The primacy of the league vs the provincial structure is retained as a top 3 Div 1 or 1st Div 2 finish guarantees an All-Ireland quarter final, whereas even a provincial title will only guarantee a 'play-in' game, 2 rounds before an All-Ireland quarter final.
•      Provides a strong incentive to win Tailteann Cup.

I know it's long, but hopefully a few of ye will have the time to read it, hope it's understandable and thoughts welcome.