GAA Football

B championship would hurt fundraising - Collie Donnelly

New Antrim chairman Collie Donnelly is against the B championship proposal

ANTRIM chairman Collie Donnelly says the proposed B championship would make fundraising pushes in the county more difficult - and hopes congress will give the motion the thumbs down next month.

If passed, Antrim could possibly find themselves out of the All-Ireland series next season. Donnelly was part of the new Saffron Vision grouping that won six out of eight positions on the county board in December.

The St John’s clubman said the new management committee met earlier this week to discuss possible changes to the All-Ireland Championship: “We’re trying to put a new fundraising group together in conjunction with Club Aontroma and tap into the corporate sector," Donnelly said.

“Someone said to me: ‘With respect, we’ve spent our time with Chippies and Chinese takeaways’ - and I don’t mean that in a bad way because a lot of them have been very good to Antrim over time. We want to establish more links with the corporate sector, but to try and sell the brand and be associated with a second-tier makes it so much harder.”

Donnelly fully expects the GAA to dress up the B championship motion and says he has a slight concern about those who will have a vote on it at congress: “We’ll oppose it, obviously, but another concern of ours is that a lot of counties will have a vote on it that isn’t applicable to them.

“Okay, it might affect a couple of the Division Three teams if they find themselves there, but the mechanism would a concern.”

Donnelly added: “People want to have the aspiration to play in the knock-out competition for the Sam Maguire. I know for some counties it’s a pipe dream, but you want to be involved in the cut and thrust of Championship football.

“I know they will try to incentify the competition - whether it’s a players’ holiday for the winners - but the sound-bites we’re getting from management and a few of the players is they literally have no appetite for it."

Donnelly praised Mickey Harte for his comments on the proposed B championship, adding: “Mickey probably remembers the times when Tyrone were not doing great, but they got their house in order and, once they got Club Tyrone going, they obviously found a solution."

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