GAA Football

No decision on Antrim GAA's 'B' Championship participation: Donnelly

Antrim chairman Collie Donnelly says that the Saffron county has made no decision on whether it would participate in a proposed All-Ireland 'B' football Championship. Picture by John McIlwaine
Cahair O'Kane

ANTRIM chairman Collie Donnelly says that the county has made no decision on whether it would participate in an All-Ireland ‘B’ Championship.

The GPA yesterday released a statement saying that county teams directly affected by the introduction of the proposed second-tier competition had unanimously agreed that they “will not participate in any new structure if this format is approved”.

The players’ body called on all counties to vote against the proposal and said that it was “encouraging all football county squads to canvass their respective county delegates on this matter”.

However, new Antrim chairman Donnelly says that the GPA’s statement does not reflect the Saffron county’s position on the matter.

He did not rule out the prospect of withdrawing from the proposed ‘B’ Championship if it was introduced but said that no decision had been made by the county’s management committee.

“I wasn’t aware that the GPA was contacting the squads themselves. It was discussed at county management and Antrim wouldn’t be in favour of the ‘B’ championship at all.

“Certainly Antrim haven’t taken that decision. We have a management committee meeting on Monday night. No representative from the GPA has spoken to any of the Antrim officers to my knowledge, so that’s certainly not official.”

Asked if the possibility of withdrawing had been discussed, Donnelly said: ”No, not at all. It was discussed from the point of view of there being no appetite for it.

“That was the feedback coming from players and clubs. It was never tabled that if this was imposed on us, we’ll not be entering. It never got to that.

“[The GPA’s statement] is certainly not the official line from Antrim. If push comes to shove, we may have to make that decision, but it’s never been discussed by us in that light.”

The ideas for reform that have been put forward by Central Council for consideration at Congress was after a process in which the GAA looked at 18 different proposals.

Its recommendation is that, barring the introduction of the ‘B’ Championship, the format for the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship should remain as it is.

“It is inconceivable to think that after this lengthy process the status quo will pertain while there is a growing consensus for urgent change amongst players; club and county, supporters and now administrators,” said the GPA’s statement.

GAA Football

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