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Second-tier Championship would rob us of so much

Big plans: GAA chief John Horan wants second-tier Championship
Big plans: GAA chief John Horan wants second-tier Championship
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Some Twitter-related nonsense now for everyone.

Last week I had reflected on the entertaining skirmish between Tyrone and Derry, before a brilliant couple of days of Ulster Championship derbies with Cavan finally getting one over on Monaghan and Armagh rescuing themselves deep into the second period of extra-time to finally overcome Down.

Buoyed by the afterglow, I posted a poll on Twitter posing the question: 'How has the Ulster Championship been so far? Just wondering what the wider perception is out there'.

A total of 332 votes were cast, highlighting my incredible reach and the potential to move into an 'influencer' role in the future. The options were: Puke (4% of the vote), Mediocre (10%), Fairly good (52%) and Genuinely good (34%).

Of the sample, just 14% of people were not satisfied with the Ulster Championship. We dare say after Tyrone's hammering of Antrim and the spectacle that was Fermanagh-Donegal, that figure might have crept up if the poll was conducted after the weekend, but still.

Until GAA President John Horan had his hand in the canister and the balls were being whirled around, all described in lurid detail by RTÉ's Morning Ireland host Darren Frehill, it didn't truly feel like the Championship.

Once the qualifiers arrive, it all gets a little helter-skelter. Teams that have been beaten on a Sunday get to shake off a hangover on Monday morning, knowing the focus for training will already have been set.

In the qualifiers, mad things happen. Pairings that we have never seen before in the Championship pop up all the time and that one side from down the country that you can never get the better of in a dirty league game now look extremely vulnerable.

We are on the edge of great reform. It seems a certainty, given President Horan's determination to leave a legacy, that a second-tier Championship will be brought in.

When that happens, the notion of giant-killings leaves the Gaelic Football Championship. Everyone will be at their own level, as decreed by the all-knowing ones, and half the craic will disappear.

And we will be all the poorer for it.

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