Point taken, but what if apathy does continue, where in the next five to ten years due to the demands of IC football, and the remote possibility of success leads to more and more potential county players in div 3 and div 4 (using this for illustrative purposes only) saying shag it, just not worth it.
Would it not be better to put a potential longer-term solution into place, where over a ten year period, the so called weaker counties, play in a separate championship, where the semi-finals and finals are played in croke park and the winners move into Q final. In addition, somebody in GAA marketing takes their finger out and promotes the you know what out of those semi and finals to ensure they are played before a meaningful crowd.
Several aspects here. Firstly, what you're doing is saying to half the intercounty players of the country that even though you've said you don't want this, we anticipate what you're going to do in ten years time, we know that better than you, and we've decided what you really want, even if you don't know it yet.
As I've said before, if a steady stream of players start going on the record and saying that they are not interested in playing because the competitions they enter are unwinnable, to the point that it can be reasonably assumed that this is the majority view, I will completely change my tune. Until that happens, I'll be steadfast in my view that a second or third tier championship will be a terrible idea.
And please, no more "marketing" nonsense. Every sporting fixture and every sporting body, male and female, thinks that the reason feck all people come in the door is a lack of marketing. We get it from the LGFA, from the League of Ireland, from club rugby, and from the National League of the GAA as well at times. Worst of all is the interprovincials. We had two weeks when they were the only GAA story in town and they got loads of coverage. Less than 100 people showed up at games, and still there were shills coming out saying that a lack of marketing was the problem. Ultimately if the public decide that they don't like something, they won't go.
If I can sit in front of a key board in my office and in 15 mins come up with six quick ways to boost attendance at this kind of a fixture, surely to God, somebody who is being paid full time by the GAA can do similar, unless they are totally inept. The annual Q/finals attendance debacle on August bank holiday readily comes to mind on this.
I'm sorry, but no. I'd love to hear your six things, and I'll read with an open mind when you list them, but what you are talking about is the Christy Ring Cup of football, and again I say that if the public don't care, you won't be able to make them care. More Offaly people attended the county senior hurling final between St Rynaghs and Birr than attended all three of our intercounty games in the round robin series against Carlow, Westmeath and Laois, COMBINED. Second tier just doesn't do it for folks.
Population is a very valid argument, and not to digress, but is the parential rule still not in place, where young fellas can play for county of parents. Not ideal, but when you hear of the numbers of players showing up for u10 and u12 training and coaching in Dublin and other cities, a lot of potential inter county footballers are flying under the radar. Logistically difficult, I know.
This rule still is in place but the one thing that continues to fuel players, teams, clubs and counties across the land is passion, and pride of place. I have no issue whatsoever with a young player who has an interest in Offaly GAA and who has a genuine connection with the county lining out in the tricolour, regardless of where he sleeps at night. However a player that decides that playing for Dublin is out of reach and so he'll take advantage of his parentage just for expediency is another matter. I've no doubt that there are lots of good footballers in Dublin who would be better players than the outliers in Pat Flanagan's current panel, but the greater good will not be served by the wholehearted lad from the locality losing out to the fella that never watched a club game in the county up until he decided that he'd like to wear the county colours as a fall back. I had a few chats with John Coughlan when he made the switch a few years ago and he was a nice lad who had a genuine interest, but even then it just didn't work out for him. Actually come to think of it, are there any success stories from this rule anywhere out there?