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Changes to All-Ireland structure to be debated

By John Campbell

The Central Council of the GAA will convene in Dublin tomorrow to consider 18 proposals in relation to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship amid a clamour urging a revamp of the competition.

Given that the wheels of change invariably turn slowly within the association, a wholesale restructuring of the flagship series is unlikely to take place.

The demand, too, from some quarters to dispense with the provincial championships in their current format is not expected to curry favour.

Instead, the most that might emerge in terms of change could be the introduction of an All-Ireland 'B' Championship and a streamlining of the senior championship which many feel is rather too protracted.

As things stand, the All-Ireland Championship starts in early May and concludes with the final in late September yet in the intervening five-month period championship action is occasionally conspicuous by its absence from the fixtures agenda, not least because of the fixation with making advance arrangements for potential replays.

There is an element of urgency to tomorrow's debate, too, as any motions involving changes to the Championship must be brought to Congress in Carlow next month for ratification.

Former Ulster Council chief Aoghan O Fearghail, who is now president of the association, will chair the discussions and has already indicated that "a significant announcement" will be forthcoming from tomorrow's deliberations.

Whether this materialises or not is a matter of conjecture but Cavan native O Fearghail indicates that some form of action is needed.

The proposals on the table tomorrow have been formulated over a number of months. The hope is that they will now be translated into action.

Belfast Telegraph


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