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Joe Kernan: Let’s have a return to National League One semi-finals

The wheels of change generally turn very slowly within the GAA. This being the case, it is no big surprise to learn that the proposed re-introduction of semi-finals in Division One of the National Football and Hurling Leagues will not take place until next year.

I suppose we must be thankful that Central Council has taken the decision to put forward a motion for the 2011 Annual Congress in Mullingar urging the change and assuming it gets the green light there it will be all systems go for the 2012 leagues.

It all seems a long way off, though. I am one of many who would like to have seen change implemented before then but instead patience will have to be exercised.

The staging of semi-finals in Division One – they were part of the fabric of the league format for many years before being ditched - will add an extra dimension to the closing stages of the leagues and will ensure that more teams stay in the hunt for the trophy.

I feel there has been rather too much emphasis placed on scoring averages in recent years in determining promotion and relegation.

While I am all in favour of teams being rewarded for winning individual games, I feel that semi-finals rather than points difference will be a much more feasible and interesting method of devising just who will win the trophy.

The National League season tickets are already on sale and are proving popular. My own county Armagh, will have the advantage of hosting home games in the new-look Athletic Grounds and that should add spice to their involvement.

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