For some time, much has been made of Championship football to the extent that we have almost been brainwashed into believing it is the be all and end all.
But I would like to debunk this theory here and now for two reasons — I am tired listening to provincial Championships and the All-Ireland series being eulogised and I also believe this is being done to the detriment of what I think was an absorbing National League this year.
While I have no wish to be parochial, I will robustly contend that apart from the Ulster Football Championship and Munster Hurling Championship, the other provincial competitions tend to be rather flat and often predictable.
My own interest in this year’s Leinster Football Championship started and ended when Dublin swamped Wexford by 1-24 to 0-4, while anything other than Kerry winning the Munster crown would be nothing short of incredible.
Galway and Roscommon, meanwhile, are limbering up for the Connacht Final which will trigger interest but this will still pale into insignificance compared to the fervour that will accompany the Donegal v Derry showdown.
No team has illuminated the summer to date more than Derry. Rory Gallagher’s men have already claimed two Division One scalps, including that of reigning All-Ireland champions Tyrone, and they are now intent on making it a hat-trick of successes against top-tier opposition by capturing the Anglo-Celt Cup for the first time since 1998.
Derry’s win over Tyrone and their victory against Monaghan lent an entirely new dimension to the Ulster Championship while Cavan’s wholehearted effort before they were edged out by Donegal not only won them many new admirers but added another coating of gloss.
In contrast, I think some of the fare offered up on the Leinster scene to date can only be described as a crime against Gaelic football and it remains to be seen if the Dublin v Kildare decider can help to erase that painful memory.
It has not surprised me in the least that people appear to be indifferent to what is happening in Leinster but maybe the Dubs can rise to the occasion and venture further into recovery mode.
Be that as it may, Ulster Council officials can take considerable satisfaction from what has been a fascinating provincial Championship to date.
Indeed, the competition has, to my mind, built up to what could prove to be a spectacular climax next weekend.
Donegal have tended to be there or thereabouts in recent years and Declan Bonner’s men are harbouring a frantic desire to come out on top this time.
But their hunger is not quite as all-consuming as that of a Derry side which has been in the wilderness for far too long.
They may have had to exercise patience in their bid to become a formidable presence in the trophy hunt once again but they have been showing the character, courage and cohesion that augur well for their prospects.
There has been a tremendous buzz at the majority of Ulster Championship matches and this has added greatly to the entertainment value of ties.
Last Sunday there were 15,000 fans in the Athletic Grounds and fans were still out on the pitch obtaining selfies with their heroes some 45 minutes after referee David Gough had sounded the final whistle.
Should Derry just happen to win the Final, I just get a sense that hero worship could be taken to a whole new level.
GAA President Larry McCarthy believes that the Tailteann Cup is set to create a big impact now that the action is getting under way this weekend.
But I would not just be so sure. The fact that the fixtures makers have decreed that the competition will be played off on a regional basis with a North section and South section does not necessarily add appeal to the competition.
I genuinely think this artificial North-South divide is cruel because it can only emphasise the gulf that there may be between teams and this does nothing for the sport.
Indeed, the fact that there are two preliminary round ties in the South section — Wexford v Offaly and Wicklow v Waterford — only serves to cloud the issue further.
It’s hardly surprising that Ulster has thrown up what many will perceive to be the most interesting fixture with Cavan having been drawn at home against Down.
As I see it, this is a match that Down just have to win. They simply cannot afford to incur another heavy defeat to add to the misery they have endured in the League and Championship to date.
I think there is a grave danger that a further slip-up would see morale continue to slide in Down, and that’s something I would be sorry to see.
You only get one chance to make a first impression and that’s why I am so anxious to see this inaugural Tailteann Cup competition make an impact. If it doesn’t succeed in achieving that this year, then the concept could be doomed.
I have no wish to be dramatic in relation to this issue but there is a lot riding on this first series of fixtures.
When we were initially sold the idea of the Tailteann Cup, we were led to understand that it would be launched against a backdrop of publicity and hype that would ensure its success.
That, though, has not happened. Yes, there was a release of fixtures early on Monday morning and a media briefing later at which a player from every county participating in the competition was present.
But for all this I still harbour fears for the competition, certainly from the publicity perspective. I don’t think people will be too anxious to attend games given the costs currently involved, and I think the GAA has to brace itself for this.
The fact that the Semi-Finals and Final of the competition are to be screened live by RTE will be seen as a bonus of sorts but I would certainly hope that, when we eventually reach that stage, the level of public interest will be such that the competition can end on a very high note.