Second tier football championship on the way?

November 24, 2018

The Sam Maguire Cup. ©INPHO/Donall Farmer.

As well as the proposed new playing rules, another item up for debate at today’s Central Council meeting is the introduction of a second tier football championship.

The GAA’s C.C.C.C received six separate proposals in relation to a potential second tier championship since the September meeting of Central Council.

The committee also received written submissions on the topic from seven further counties and from the GPA.

The proposals and comments were considered over the course of two meetings, and the best aspects of what had been submitted form the basis of the proposal below that the C.C.C.C is asking Central Council to consider submitting as a motion to Congress in February 2019.

The basic principles adopted in designing the proposal were that:

- Any competition should have as little impact as possible on the time available for club fixtures (i.e. how they would fit into the Calendar was a key consideration)

- A successful competition would require a decent base of teams in order to make the competition sustainable (i.e. any competition restricted to just Division 4 teams is unlikely to be viable in the long term)

- The Allianz Leagues in the given year should be used as an eligibility metric for the competition

- The competition should incorporate teams from Divisions 3 and 4 of the Allianz Leagues only

- All teams should have the opportunity of participating in their Provincial championship initially

The C.C.C.C also considered whether teams should have the opportunity of participating in the All Ireland qualifiers and in a new second tier competition – it was the view of the C.C.C.C that they should; however the Committee also acknowledged that there is a body of thought that suggests Division 3 and 4 Counties should go straight to a second tier competition on their elimination from their respective Provincial Championships.

For this reason, the C.C.C.C. has put forward two separate versions of this proposal – one that sees Division 3 and 4 counties given an opportunity in their provincial championships, in the qualifiers and in a new second tier competition, and an alternative which would have Division 3 and 4 counties (that do not qualify for their provincial finals) progressing directly to the second tier competition on their elimination from the provincial championships.

Version 1

A 2nd Tier competition open to Counties competing in Division 3 and 4 in a given year. These Counties to get a chance in the Provincial Championships, the Qualifiers and (should they fail to progress past Round 2 of the Qualifiers) a 2nd Tier Championship. The proposal ensures all Division 3 and 4 Counties (those in most need of Development) will get a minimum of 3 Championship games per year (instead of the current 2) while having relatively little negative impact on the time available for club fixtures in those Counties.

Structure

Provincial & All Ireland (Sam Maguire) Championships:

• Provincial championships played as currently

• Sam Maguire Qualifiers continue as currently until Round 2 is completed

• The 8 Round 2 Winners continue in the All Ireland (Sam Maguire) Championship which is completed through Rounds 3, 4 and Quarter Finals as currently.

Any non-Division 1 or 2 Teams eliminated in Round 1 or 2 of the qualifiers go to the 2nd Tier Championship

2nd Tier Championship

The 2nd Tier Championship is played on a knock out basis – Rd 1, Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final

A 2nd Tier competition open to Counties competing in Division 3 and 4 in a given year only. However, only Division 3 and 4 Counties that qualify for their Provincial Final go into the Sam Maguire qualifiers; all other Div 3 and 4 Counties go straight to the 2nd Tier Championship.

The winner of the 2nd Tier to be rewarded with an automatic place in Sam Maguire qualifiers the following year, irrespective of league standing.

Version 2

Structure

Provincial & All Ireland Championships:

• Provincial championships played as currently

• Qualifiers only open to teams from Div 1 and 2, and any Division 3 or 4 teams who qualify for their Provincial final

• Preliminary Round to reduce number of teams in Rd 1 to 8 if required

• Round 1 – 4 teams play 4

• Round 2 – 4 Winners from Round 1 are drawn to play the 4 beaten Provincial finalists

• Winners from Round 2 progress to All Ireland Quarter Finals (Round Robin)

2nd Tier Championship

The 2nd Tier Championship is played on a knock out basis – All Division 3 and 4 teams that do not make their Provincial Finals enter

Structure would be for a Rd 1, Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final (note in years where there are less than 16 teams involved, Byes would apply in Round 1)

A number of other recommendations will also be debated.

Proposal 1

Allianz Hurling Leagues in 2019 to be run on the same basis as in 2018. From 2020 onwards, Allianz Hurling League Division 1 to be structured as follows:

Division 1 – Group A

1st Placed team 2019 Div 1A

4th Placed team 2019 Div 1A

Winner of Div 1a relegation play-off

2nd placed team 2019 Div 1B

3rd placed team 2019 Div 1B

Promoted Div 2a team

Division 1 – Group B

2nd placed team 2019 Div 1A

3rd placed team 2019 Div 1A

Loser of Div 1A relegation play off

1st Placed team 2019 Div 1B

4th placed team 2019 Div 1B

5th placed team 2019 Div 1B

- Groups to run on a two year cycle (2020, 2021)

- To be redrawn for 2022 and every two years thereafter based on formula above (“5th placed team Div 1B” to change to “Relegation final winners” for this purpose).

- Relegation from 2020 onwards to be after Relegation Play-Off between bottom placed team in Group A and Group B.

- Winner of Div 2A final is promoted annually to replace relegated team

- 1st placed team in each group to advance directly to Allianz Hurling League Semi Final

- 2nd and 3rd placed teams from each group to meet in “crossover” quarter finals (2nd 1A v 3rd 1B and 3rd 1A v 2nd 1B)

Proposal 2

Central Council to sponsor a motion to Congress seeking that Joe Mc Donagh Cup Final be 'Winner on the day'

Proposal 3

That Central Council sponsor a motion to Congress making the All Ireland Hurling Preliminary Quarter Finals 'Winner on the day'

Proposal 4

Central Council consider granting deviation from Rule 6.28 for the 2019 All Ireland Football Championship to allow for Phase 1 games to be home venues for the provincial champions, with Phase 2 games being in Croke Park and Phase 3 as home games for Rd 4 Winners.

Proposal 5

For 2019, C.C.C.C recommends to Central Council that in accordance with Riail 6.28 the groupings for the 2019 Quarter Final Group stages should be as follows:

Group 1; Munster Winners, Ulster Winners, Leinster Runners-Up (or Rd 4 Winner), Connacht Runners-Up (or Rd 4 Winner)

Group 2: Leinster Winners, Connacht Winners, Munster Runners-Up (or Rd 4 Winner), Ulster Runners-Up (or Rd 4 winner)

Proposal 6

Central Council to consider introducing the new U20 proposal as a one year experiment, with its scheduling and place in the calendar to be reviewed in Sept 2019

Proposal 7

Central Council to consider motion to Congress to allow players to be eligible for U20 once their Senior team has exited the All-Ireland Championship.

Proposal 8

Minor Finals and Semi-Finals should remain in Croke Park in 2019 ahead of an evidence based recommendation from the Games Development Work Group on the matter

Proposal 9

Central Council to facilitate motion to Congress to tidy up issues around 'Winner on the Day'

Proposal 10

That instead of Free Pucks/Free Kicks, Central Council give permission to C.C.C.C to develop 'Winner on the Day' proposals for the 2019 Season based around penalty pucks/penalty kicks instead of Frees.



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