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Should Leinster And Ulster Losing Semi-Finalists Enter The All-Ireland Series At A Later Stage?

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Connaught and Munster have less than 8 teams. Some teams as a result get a bye to the semi-finals.

Leinster and Ulster have more than 8 teams. All teams have to win a quarter-final to get to the semi-finals.

Should Leinster and Ulster semi-finalists enter the All-Ireland series at a later stage? It seems unfair to treat them the same as Connaught and Munster finalists. A solution to this might help alleviate the imbalance and bring fairness to the provincial structure.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 6173 - 19/06/2019 08:16:29    2197435

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Replying To legendzxix:  "Connaught and Munster have less than 8 teams. Some teams as a result get a bye to the semi-finals.

Leinster and Ulster have more than 8 teams. All teams have to win a quarter-final to get to the semi-finals.

Should Leinster and Ulster semi-finalists enter the All-Ireland series at a later stage? It seems unfair to treat them the same as Connaught and Munster finalists. A solution to this might help alleviate the imbalance and bring fairness to the provincial structure."
Yes

The simplest way I can come up with is as follows:

20 teams are eligible for the round 1 qualifiers.

The 20 that don't reach a Munster/Connacht final and the 20 not reaching the Ulster/Leinster semifinals

There are 4 byes in round 1 with teams that have won a Provincial championship game given preference over those that lost their first game.

Round 2 includes the round 1 winners and 4 byes for 6 ties.

Round 3 includes losing Ulster and Leinster semi finalists and Connacht and Munster finalists plus 6 round 2 winners for 6 ties.

Round 4 6 round 3 winners plus Ulster and Leinster finalists play off in 4 ties to join the Provincial champions in the last 8.

Honestly it's about as fair as you can get whilst keeping the provincials and it just being double elimination.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 2602 - 19/06/2019 11:18:13    2197501

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The qualifiers are obviously flawed as the are and the main reason is the unequal number of teams in each province and teams being seeded (for want of a better word) based on what stage they lose in their province.

Sligo have played only 1 match so far this summer - a defeat to Galway - and this weekend they'll play Offaly who lost narrowly to Meath before beating London to reach this stage.

Kildare are playing their 4th game of the championship this weekend (not counting the replay against Longford) and despite winning 2 already they're still at the same stage Sligo are at.

The above by Whammo would provide a more level playing field alright - it's never going to be perfect but having teams advance a round or 2 based solely on luck of the draw as they are now is clearly unfair.

if_in_doubt (Kildare) - Posts: 3631 - 19/06/2019 11:43:45    2197511

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Hi Legend,

Wasn't I after looking for you around Fermanagh Street and the Diamond in Clones last July after the Super 8 match to discuss a restructured championship. Couldn't see you anywhere.

But you seem to have arrived at what looks like a sensible ingredient of a better future.

So remind me, did we actually discuss this but such was my degree of refeshment/shock at the late Kerry equalising goal, that I have now forgotten this key discussion ?

Knoxboya (Monaghan) - Posts: 274 - 19/06/2019 12:37:49    2197538

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Galway beat London & Sligo and then lost to Roscommon.
Kildare beat Wicklow & Longford and then lost to Dublin.

Galway now have to win 1 game to get to the Super 8s while Kildare would have to win 3.

Honestly, you would sound like a madman trying to explain how the All Ireland SFC championship works to someone who didn't know anything about the GAA.

KildareKelly (Kildare) - Posts: 572 - 19/06/2019 12:49:11    2197548

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This tread really highlights how dysfunctional our Championship Structure actually is!

BTW, very valid proposal/discussion

Ban (Westmeath) - Posts: 999 - 19/06/2019 13:17:13    2197561

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Replying To KildareKelly:  "Galway beat London & Sligo and then lost to Roscommon.
Kildare beat Wicklow & Longford and then lost to Dublin.

Galway now have to win 1 game to get to the Super 8s while Kildare would have to win 3.

Honestly, you would sound like a madman trying to explain how the All Ireland SFC championship works to someone who didn't know anything about the GAA."
I work in Belfast and trying to explain the provincials, qualifiers and super 8s to colleagues of a non-gaa or unionist background is far from easy,

OGarmaile (Tyrone) - Posts: 143 - 19/06/2019 13:25:24    2197568

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Replying To Ban:  "This tread really highlights how dysfunctional our Championship Structure actually is!

BTW, very valid proposal/discussion"
It' has always been imbalanced due to the provincial championships, uneven county split. Kerry once won a Sam having played 3 games. Now you have to play more than double that. To be fair you would have to either scrap the provincial championships altogether or run them and the AI as two completely separate competitions.

Joxer (Dublin) - Posts: 3824 - 19/06/2019 13:40:40    2197579

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Replying To legendzxix:  "Connaught and Munster have less than 8 teams. Some teams as a result get a bye to the semi-finals.

Leinster and Ulster have more than 8 teams. All teams have to win a quarter-final to get to the semi-finals.

Should Leinster and Ulster semi-finalists enter the All-Ireland series at a later stage? It seems unfair to treat them the same as Connaught and Munster finalists. A solution to this might help alleviate the imbalance and bring fairness to the provincial structure."
Legend you seem unable to see beyond the provincial structure and for real change to improve things you cant just have 4 provincial competitions with winners going to quarters and then teams entering all ireland series based on what level they exited their provincial competition.
No they shouldnt be entering at a later stage.

KillingFields (Limerick) - Posts: 184 - 19/06/2019 13:52:22    2197582

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I'm always interested in new championship proposals but have been reluctant to propose anything as it's not easy to maintain the provincials (which last Sunday showed is a must), while being fair to all counties and giving the weaker counties meaningful games.

I think hurling has shown us the way, to a degree, and I've also come to the conclusion that you can't give weaker counties meaningful games unless you add a 2nd tier - which some simply will never go for.

So I think the below is about as good as I can manage:



Provinces remain split, but London enter Ulster Championship. NY don't play the same province each year (I'll come to them later).


Ulster: 10 teams, 2 groups of 5, top team in each group make the Ulster final. Runner up in each group enters Q2

Leinster: Same as Ulster but with 6 teams in one group. So again 2 teams enter Q2 leaving 4 seeded teams there

Connaught: 1 group of 5 teams, top 2 play Connaught Final

Munster: 1 group of 6 teams, top 2 play Munster Final


We've now played 6 league groups and established Provincial finalists


4 provincial winners enter the All Ireland Quarter Finals
4 Provincial runners-up enter Q3


The 3rd place team in each of the 6 groups enters and open draw in Q1
Anyone who finished lower than 3rd is now eliminated from the championship (having played a minimum of 4 games).

Q1: 6 teams, 3 winners advance to Q2. New York now enter the championship.

Q2: NY and 3 Q1 winners drawn against the 4 teams who have qualified for Q2 via their groups, 4 winners advance

Q3: 4 Q2 winners play the provincial runners-up, 4 winners advance to All Ireland quarter finals.

The All-Ireland series reverts to the old system of straight knockout.



I think the above satisfies a lot of the criteria that causes an imbalance under current structures;
- all teams get a guaranteed 4 games, some are guaranteed 5
- provincials are maintained
- if the appetite is there for a 2nd tier, there are 14 teams who finish below 3rd in their groups who could now enter this
- New York aren't confined to just the one province
- the Super 8s are gone, and the intensity of matches increases as the summer goes on, no safety net from 1/4 final on

cavanman47 (Cavan) - Posts: 3568 - 19/06/2019 13:55:38    2197584

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it really is crazy. i mean the craziest thing is that County A can beat County B in a first round game and still end up no further on than them. (If County A lose their quarter-final). The situation in Connacht is laughable.
If you lose your first game you should not get in to round 2 of the qualifiers.

s goldrick (Cavan) - Posts: 5227 - 19/06/2019 14:01:52    2197587

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I do think though a better competition would involve getting rid of the qualifiers altogether.

Start with Provincial championship in March and April (plus 1 designated club weekend in each code)

All Ireland championship is 2 tiers each with 2 groups of 8.

Tier 1 made up 4 Provincial champions, 2 previous season's tier 2 finalists and 10 other best teams from the previous season's tier 1.

Provincial championships are used to determine seeding for the tier 1 and Provincial final and semifinals are not repeated.

There is a link between Provincial and All Ireland series.

A draw is made to determine which Provincial champions play in the same group and then the groups are constructed.

Let's say Dublin, Donegal and Kerry were to win their finals this year. Roscommon draw Dublin and that the 16 division 1 and 2 are the participants this season. The groups would look something like as follows:

Group 1
Dublin
Roscommon
Cavan
Tyrone
Clare
Laois
Fermanagh
Westmeath

Group 2
Donegal
Kerry
Meath
Galway
Kildare
Armagh
Mayo
Monaghan

Seems like there'd be a lot of quality match ups there.

No dead rubbers because teams need to do well enough to qualify for the following season's tier 1.

At the end of each season only 12 teams are guaranteed 5 from each tier 1 group plus the tier 2 finalists. The final 4 spots depend on the provincial championship and whether there are shock winners of those.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 2602 - 19/06/2019 18:20:51    2197698

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Not exactley the same - but similarities about 5 from 8, a top 12 and 2x8 in each tier - I copy/paste frim the 2nd Champp/ Tier 2 thread -

In AI SFC - could use the old NFL 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B - Top 5 in 1A & 1B and Top 1 in 2A & 2B (12 teams) to Rd of 16 - In Div 2 - 2nd v Other 5th and 3rd v Other 4th (4 teams win) to complete Rd of 16 - 6 Div 2 Qualifiers go up and replace 6 Div 1 teams that did not advance. Also, top 2A v top 2B for Tier 2 title before Tier 1 Rd of 16.

You could say, that if Prov Champs did not qualify for the Rd of 16, they would replace the 5th and 4th places teams from Tier 1.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 1610 - 20/06/2019 01:00:32    2197807

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This provides all teams with good opportunity - the top 10 staying up, bottom 10 staying down & middle 12 in 'ebb and flo' (6 up / 6 down).

Ideally. In lieu of 7 division games for all - I prefer 8 inter-division matches (Div 1A v 1B and Div 2A v 2B) with top 10 of 16 in Div 1 across both divisions advancing (wild cards are best here, in case one div wins most games) and Div 2 has similar 10 of 16.

Top 5 of 10 from each div stays in own half of the draw - A or B - with any teams in excess of 5 switching to the other half of the draw.

After the 1st rd KO in Div 2 - each KO half will have 8 teams - seed 1v8, 2v7 etc - with rd 2 reseeded - highest seed of 4 winners v lowest seed of 4 winners in each half of the draw, A or B. This mostly ensures 'non repeat' pairings - except for certain weaker qualifiers switching sides.

omahant (USA) - Posts: 1610 - 20/06/2019 01:32:11    2197810

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What surprises me about most competition structure proposals here is that nobody ever considers running competitions in parallel!
It works in sports all over the world. Man City were playing in 4 competitions in parallel at one stage this season.

In my simple view, most sports across the world have the answers to our problems.

Ban (Westmeath) - Posts: 999 - 20/06/2019 13:36:35    2197956

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Replying To KildareKelly:  "Galway beat London & Sligo and then lost to Roscommon.
Kildare beat Wicklow & Longford and then lost to Dublin.

Galway now have to win 1 game to get to the Super 8s while Kildare would have to win 3.

Honestly, you would sound like a madman trying to explain how the All Ireland SFC championship works to someone who didn't know anything about the GAA."
This 'advantage' becomes a huge disadvantage in the Railway Cup though, when Leinster have a whopping 12 counties to pick players out of, and poor Connacht only have five.

Pope_Benedict (Galway) - Posts: 2278 - 20/06/2019 14:54:11    2197994

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One solution is for the All-Ireland series to be a 16 team round robin in 4 groups of 4.

Each province should get 50% representation in the Final 16:
Munster = 3 out of 6 counties.
Connaught = 3 out of 6 counties. (London included.)
Ulster = 4.5 out of 9 counties.
Leinster = 5.5 out of 11 counties. (Kilkenny excluded.)

Each province should have their own qualifier paths to the All-Ireland series. The 0.5 place in Ulster and Leinster would see a crossover in their qualifier routes.

legendzxix (Kerry) - Posts: 6173 - 20/06/2019 17:10:38    2198053

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Replying To legendzxix:  "One solution is for the All-Ireland series to be a 16 team round robin in 4 groups of 4.

Each province should get 50% representation in the Final 16:
Munster = 3 out of 6 counties.
Connaught = 3 out of 6 counties. (London included.)
Ulster = 4.5 out of 9 counties.
Leinster = 5.5 out of 11 counties. (Kilkenny excluded.)

Each province should have their own qualifier paths to the All-Ireland series. The 0.5 place in Ulster and Leinster would see a crossover in their qualifier routes."
Nope

Difference in quality makes it more fair to have All Ireland based qualifiers.

If one province is weak for a prolonged period of time there'd be a structural qualitative imbalance over multiple years.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 2602 - 20/06/2019 18:21:26    2198071

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Replying To Ban:  "What surprises me about most competition structure proposals here is that nobody ever considers running competitions in parallel!
It works in sports all over the world. Man City were playing in 4 competitions in parallel at one stage this season.

In my simple view, most sports across the world have the answers to our problems."
I guess we don't have that tradition though in the GAA.

It was tried in hurling in 1997.

Tipperary reached the All Ireland final and lost in the league semifinals.

They played a weakened team in the league. Lost to Galway scoring only 6 points. They were playing that game 6 days after their championship semifinals and 3 weeks before the final and still didn't want to compete properly for the league.

The league semifinals were on 23rd August. The final wasn't until October. It was a really strangely scheduled season but still I think it points out problems in your suggestion.

I think the secondary competition would always very much play second fiddle if played alongside the championship.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 2602 - 20/06/2019 18:36:31    2198076

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Replying To Whammo86:  "Yes

The simplest way I can come up with is as follows:

20 teams are eligible for the round 1 qualifiers.

The 20 that don't reach a Munster/Connacht final and the 20 not reaching the Ulster/Leinster semifinals

There are 4 byes in round 1 with teams that have won a Provincial championship game given preference over those that lost their first game.

Round 2 includes the round 1 winners and 4 byes for 6 ties.

Round 3 includes losing Ulster and Leinster semi finalists and Connacht and Munster finalists plus 6 round 2 winners for 6 ties.

Round 4 6 round 3 winners plus Ulster and Leinster finalists play off in 4 ties to join the Provincial champions in the last 8.

Honestly it's about as fair as you can get whilst keeping the provincials and it just being double elimination."
Let's test Wham's format fairness - As one quarter of teams make the AI QFs/Super 8, a fair system should have 5 of 20 from Uls/Lein advance and 3 of 12 from Conn/Muns (assume a 50% chance for each team per game played, and initially, make no provision for who gets the four 1st Rd Qual byes) -

Reaching AI QFs (no loss) with start from -
Uls/Lein Prelim Rd (8 teams) = 8 x 1/16 = 0.5
Uls/Lein QFs = 12 x 1/8 = 1.5
Conn/Muns QFs = 8 x 1/8 = 1.0
Conn/Muns SFs = 4 x 1/4 = 1.0

With one loss entering AI QFs & start from -
Uls/Lein Prelim Rd (8 teams) = 8 x 7/64 = 56/64
Uls/Lein QFs = 12 x 5/32 = 60/32
Conn/Muns QFs = 8 x 5/64 = 40/64
Conn/Muns SFs = 4 x 3/32 = 12/32

Adding up has Uls/Lein
0.5+1.5+0.875+1.875 = 4.75 (not yet 5)
And Conn/Muns has 1+1+0.625+0.375= 3.0 (ideal)

I'd give all four 1st Rd Qual byes to Uls/Lein - say, as 4 Prelim Rd winners advance to Uls/Lein QFs, the 4 Prelim Rd losers get byes to 2nd Rd Quals.  Then, those losers need 3 wins instead of 4 wins with the loss - so 8 x 1/16 instead of 8 x 1/32 - Uls/Lein gains the required 8/32 or 1/4 Super 8 berth for perfection !

Wham, as you said - this is as fair as it gets - but only if Uls/Lein get the four byes !

omahant (USA) - Posts: 1610 - 21/06/2019 03:58:52    2198191

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