GAA Football

GAA Split Season: CPA Proposals: Option 1 and Option 2 explained in detail

CPA PROPOSALS: SPLIT SEASON OPTION 1

PROVINCIAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Format

** The Provincial League Groups are an amalgamation of the existing Provincial competitions, the pre-season tournaments and the National League.

** The Provincial structures are adjusted so that there are two Groups in Leinster & Ulster, one in Munster and one in Connacht. (See Groups below).

** Longford are invited (or mandated) to join the Ulster championship.

** The Provincial Leagues would run on a round robin basis, each team playing each other once.

** The Top teams in Leinster Group 1 &2 play each other in Provincial Final. Top teams in Group 1 & 2 of Ulster play each other in the Provincial Final. Top two from Munster play each other in the Provincial final. Top two from Connacht play each other in the Provincial final.

** Final positions in the Provincial Leagues determine seeding for the All-Ireland series.

** No replays, extra time to be used & if required, some form of shootout would decide the winner

Benefits

** It maintains the Provincial structure, while also enhancing their importance by linking them to the All-Ireland series.

** It maintains local rivalries, offering a chance to play your neighbours at least once a year.

** It’s provides simplicity, equality & certainty for the scheduling of games.

** All counties are guaranteed a minimum of 4 games and a maximum of 6.

** Most of the games would be competitive as there is an incentive to finish in the Top two and an incentive to place as high as possible for seeding purposes.

Challenges

** Convincing Longford or any county to move from their current Provincial competition. We believe the benefits to Longford would far outweigh any perceived negatives.

** The groups could be re-named ‘Districts’ or ‘Conferences’ to distinguish their identity.

** New York would no longer play in the Provincial championship or the subsequent All-Ireland series. The GAA should devise other mechanisms to showcase our sport & culture abroad e.g. Tier 2 All Ireland winners to play New York in an annual Presidents Cup.

New Provincial Structures

Leinster
Group 1

Dublin
Meath
Offaly
Carlow
Wicklow

Leinster
Group 2

Kildare
Louth
Westmeath
Laois
Wexford

Ulster 
Group 1

Monaghan
Cavan
Armagh
Down
Antrim

Ulster
Group 2

Tyrone
Donegal
Fermanagh
Derry
Longford

Munster
Kerry
Cork
Clare
Tipperary
Limerick
Waterford

Connacht
Galway
Mayo
Roscommon
Sligo
Leitrim
London

ALL-IRELAND FOOTBALL SERIES 

Format

Round Robin

** The 8 Provincial Finalists are Top seeds for 8 groups of 4 teams, with an open draw based on the final Provincial league standings.

** Each team plays each other once.

** The top 2 teams from each group progress to the Last 16 of the Tier 1 championship (Sam Maguire) and the bottom two teams of each group progress to the Last 16 of the Tier 2 championship (Tailteann Cup).

** No replays would be allowed and after extra time, some form of shootout would decide the winner.

Play-Offs

** Tier 1 & Tier 2 play a straight knock out competition from the Last 16 to the All-Ireland finals

** No replays would be allowed and after extra time, some form of shootout would decide the winner.

Benefits

** It incorporates a two tier system which has been agreed as the preferred way for football to go

** There’s no ambiguity about when county teams will play. It removes the uncertainty, which currently exists with the Qualifiers.

** Every county team is guaranteed 3 games in the All-Ireland Series

** Every season, all teams have a chance to compete for Sam Maguire.

** “Weaker” counties would have the opportunity to play against “stronger” counties.

** Seeding is dependent on performance in the Provincial Groups, offering fair and transparent competition.

** It provides opportunities to play counties that might not normally meet, throwing up interesting matches across the country.

** Re-introduces the drama of knock-out competition to the Quarter Final stage.

** At times, the Tier 1 and Tier 2 matches could be played together at the same venue, offering a bonanza of games to promote. And they may be able to share the same weekend in Croke Park. And the TV schedule could be aligned, so that games from both Tiers are shown, even if the games are at separate venues.

ALL-IRELAND HURLING LEAGUE & CHAMPIONSHIP

To improve the balance of equality and fairness to all teams participating in all hurling competitions we suggest the following alterations to the current structures. This allows for a pathway to progress for all participating counties which will be positive for player development in the weaker counties.

** Participants in Liam McCarthy would be increased to 12 teams. This will also be Division 1 and 1B for the NHL.

** It is necessary for the integrity and fairness of the competition to add one team to Munster and one team to Leinster.

** If Kerry are not classed as a division 1 team then a team must come from outside the province. If Kerry win the Joe McDonagh, they will not necessarily go into Munster- they will replace the team that was relegated in the division that team came from.

** Geographical location will not dictate where the promoted/relegated team participates the following year. It is based on results.

** It is necessary to increase Liam McCarthy Cup to 12 teams to allow 3 even groups of 8 for the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, and Nicky Rackard.

** We propose to maintain a Division 1 league and a separate championship (as we have at moment) for the 12 division 1 teams but with no quarter or semi finals.

** We propose that the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard replace Division 2, 3 and 4 of the leagues as a new competition with the league merging into a knockout Championship for Tier 2, 3 and 4 hurlers.

** This will increase the number of games for all teams from all counties in hurling.

** Relegation and promotion to these competitions is determined by the championship.

** Likewise, relegation to the Joe McDonagh from the Liam McCarthy and the Division 1 League is determined by the Championship with the losers of relegation final in Liam McCarthy replaced for the following year in top tier by the winners of Joe McDonagh.

Example of Hurling Championship Structure

Liam McCarthy
Tipperary
Limerick
Waterford
Cork
Clare
Laois
Kilkenny
Dublin
Wexford
Galway
Westmeath/Kerry
Carlow/Antrim

Joe McDonagh
Carlow/Antrim
Westmeath/Kerry
Offaly
Meath
London
Derry
Down
Kildare

Christy Ring
Wicklow
Roscommon
Derry
Sligo
Armagh
Leitrim
Warwickshire
Tyrone

Nicky Rackard
Donegal
Longford
Monaghan
Mayo
Lancashire
Louth
Fermanagh
Cavan

The Liam McCarthy Championship Structure

The Liam McCarthy would be split into two groups of 6 (Munster and Leinster) as it is now but each team will play every weekend with no byes.

Munster
Tipperary
Limerick
Waterford
Cork
Clare
Carlow

Leinster
Kilkenny
Dublin
Wexford
Galway
Laois
Westmeath

** Top 2 teams in each group into Provincial final (winners of provincial Final into All Ireland semi Final, losers into quarter final.

** 3rd and 4th placed teams will play each other (cross over from each group) with winners to progress to quarter final

** 5th place team in each group safe from relegation

** 6th place team in each group will play relegation Final with loser playing in next tier following year (Joe McDonagh)

Tier 2, 3 & 4 League Championship Structure

Joe McDonagh
Antrim
Offaly
Kerry
Meath
London
Derry
Down
Kildare

Christy Ring
Wicklow
Roscommon
Derry
Sligo
Armagh
Leitrim
Warwickshire
Tyrone

Nicky Rackard
Donegal
Longford
Monaghan
Mayo
Lancashire
Louth
Fermanagh
Cavan

** Division 2, 3, and 4, Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard totally restructured in format.

** All have 8 teams, so they play each other as per groupings to determine League finish as outlined. We propose all three groups (because they all have 8 teams) follow the same format.

** After the 7 League Games the top 2 will contest the League Final and will also progress to knock out series.

Knockout Day 1 (two weeks after conclusion of group games)

** Once the 7 League games are finished, teams are ranked 1-8 in each table and knockout starts.

** Incentive for league finalists as both will qualify for final stages with winners straight into final and runners up into the semi-final.

** 7 v 8 (losers relegated for next season, winners progress to round 2)

** 5 v 6 (losers out winners progress to round 2)

Knockout Day 2 (one week later which means maximum of 3 weeks wait for teams 3 and 4 in all groups)

** Winners 7/8 v 3

** Winners 5/6 v 4

Knockout Day 3 and League Final (one week later)

** Winners of 7/8/3 V Winners of 5,6, 4

** League Finals (1 v2) winners through to Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring and Rackard Final. 
Final losers qualify for semi final.

Knockout Day 4 (Semi Final)

** Two weeks gap between day 3 and day 4

** League Final Runners Up (losers of 1 v 2 Versus the winners of 7/8/3 v 5/6/4

Knockout Day 5 is Joe McDonagh Final/Christy ring and Nicky Rackard finals (two weeks later).

** Winner promoted to replace the relegated team from higher division.

Benefits

** Equal opportunity for all teams to be promoted and relegated and no special treatment of any county.

** All Championships and Leagues run on same format and games take place on same day.

** Pathway to promotion and status is dependent on Championship performance.

** All players will have a minimum of 8 League/championship games at inter county level.

** Increased exposure and development opportunities.

** Tier 2,3 & 4 is run at the same time as Liam McCarthy.

** Provides adequate time for u 20 hurling mid- week on gap weeks between games.

** Can facilitate playing Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard on same day and even have on same weekend.

U20 – HURLING & FOOTBALL

Format

** To be played at the same time as the Provincial Football Groups and Hurling League, offering several weeks to complete the tournaments.

** No U20 player will be eligible to play for their senior county team in the Provincial Championship Groups or Hurling League.

Benefits

• It re-asserts the Developmental nature of the U20 competition, offering elite young players the opportunity to showcase their talents, without the risk of burnout.

• U20 matches could be played as curtain raisers to the Provincial Group & Hurling League games, allowing young players the chance to play in front of large crowds, giving the GAA further marketing opportunities.

• Those in their final year of U20 could be eligible to play for their senior county team in the All-Ireland Football and Hurling series later in the year.

CLUB SEASON

Format

** All club championships should preferably have 16 teams maximum, with 4 x groups of 4 guaranteeing 3 championship games for each side.

** All club leagues would be decoupled from championship and played over the months of April to July without intercounty players. However counties who insist on not choosing this option will need to play them over the 14 club weeks available.

** Reserve leagues and reserve championships could be played from April to August.

** Mid July to November would be an exclusively club only period with counties having no access to intercounty players in that period.

** No replays would be allowed for any club games, including County, Provincial and All-Ireland finals. Extra time would be used and if necessary, some form of shootout would decide the winner.

** Any player not on the inter county panel of 26 should, without exception, be released to play with his club.

Benefits

** All club players, regardless of success in the knock-out stages of their county championship, will have a defined season which provides certainty, meaning and regularity.

** With certainty of fixtures, County Boards can actively and effectively promote their county competitions, generating more interest and income e.g. selling club season tickets, offering stronger engagement with local sponsors, generating streaming income, etc.

** With a guaranteed schedule, clubs will be better able to develop their talent over a number of seasons, which will ultimately benefit the county team as new talent emerges.

** All clubs in the country would be guaranteed to have up to 14 successive weekends with their county players.


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CPA PROPOSALS: SPLIT SEASON OPTION 2

PROVINCIAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Format

** This will be based on the existing provincial model but will require some counties to move to a different area. Draft suggestion below.

** It could retain current titles of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster or could change to something like East, North, South and West or Ireland East, Ireland North, Ireland South and Ireland West.

** The winners of each group would be titled provincial championships or provincial leagues.

** The competitions would replicate the existing NFL with 4 groups of 8, meaning 7 rounds.

** The top four in each province/group would qualify for Sam Maguire. Every county would have an opportunity to qualify every year for Sam. However, the winner of Tier 2 would be promoted annually after the first year. This would push the 4th team in the relevant province into Tier 2.

** The next four would qualify for Tier 2.

East
Ireland East: Leinster

Dublin
Meath
Wicklow
Offaly

Kildare
Louth
Westmeath
Laois

North
Ireland North: Ulster

Monaghan
Antrim
Armagh
Down

Tyrone
Donegal
Fermanagh
Derry

South
Ireland South: Munster

Kerry
Carlow
Clare
Limerick

Cork
Waterford
Tipperary
Wexford

West
Ireland West: Connacht

Mayo
London
Longford
Sligo

Galway
Leitrim
Roscommon
Cavan

Benefits

** Replace the existing imbalanced provincial structure with 4 groups of 8. It’s a natural fit for a 32 county island. (London replaces Kilkenny).

** The provincial councils would run the competitions which would in effect be a continuation of the existing provincial competitions but in a better format.

** It maintains the Provincial structure, while also enhancing their importance by linking them to the All-Ireland series.

** It maintains local rivalries, offering a chance to play your neighbours at least once a year.

** It’s provides simplicity, equality & certainty for the scheduling of games.

** Most of the games would be competitive as there is an incentive to finish in the Top two and an incentive to place as high as possible for seeding purposes.

Challenges

** Convincing counties to move from their current Provincial competition. We believe the benefits would far outweigh any perceived negatives.

** The groups could be re-named ‘Districts’ or ‘Conferences’ to distinguish their identity.

** New York would no longer play in the Provincial championship or the subsequent All-Ireland series. The GAA should devise other mechanisms to showcase our sport & culture abroad e.g. Tier 2 All Ireland winners to play New York in an annual Presidents Cup.

ALL-IRELAND FOOTBALL SERIES

Format

** Sam Maguire would consist of 16 teams, the top 4 from each of the provincial competitions.

** It would be played in groups of 4 with the provincial finalists seeded in different groups. Thus 4 groups of 4 with no provincial finalists from the same province in the same group.

** Tier 2 would also consist of 16 teams, the next 4 from each of the provincial competitions.

** The draw would be organized in a manner to ensure that no more than 2 teams from the same province would be in the same group.

** Each group would be organized as follows: Three rounds in each group. Top two qualify for All Ireland Q finals.

** No replays would be allowed. In drawn games, time based extra time to be played after normal time. Following this a score based system of extra time or else a shoot-out using penalties/frees would decide the winner.

Benefits

** It incorporates a two tier system which has been agreed as the preferred way for football to go

** There’s no ambiguity about when county teams will play. It removes the uncertainty, which currently exists with the Qualifiers.

** Every county team is guaranteed 3 games in the All-Ireland Series.

** Every season, all teams have a chance to compete for Sam Maguire.

** “Weaker” counties would have the opportunity to play against “stronger” counties.

** Re-introduces the drama of knock-out competition at the Quarter Final stage. Re opens the door for lesser counties to bring off a shock result. Eliminates the Super 8 format which greatly favoured the strong counties and had a league structure in the concluding stages of the series.

** Seeding is dependent on performance in the Provincial Groups, offering fair and transparent competition.

** It provides opportunities to play counties that might not normally meet, throwing up interesting matches across the country.

** At times, the Tier 1 and Tier 2 matches could be played together at the same venue, offering a bonanza of games to promote. And they may be able to share the same weekend in Croke Park. And the TV schedule could be aligned, so that games from both Tiers are shown, even if the games are at separate venues.

ALL-IRELAND HURLING LEAGUE & CHAMPIONSHIP

To improve the balance of equality and fairness to all teams participating in all hurling competitions we suggest the following alterations to the current structures. This allows for a pathway to progress for all participating counties which will be positive for player development in the weaker counties.

** Participants in Liam McCarthy would be increased to 12 teams.

** It is necessary for the integrity and fairness of the competition to add one team to Munster and one team to Leinster.

** If Kerry are not classed as a division 1 team then a team must come from outside the province. If Kerry win the Joe McDonagh, they will not necessarily go into Munster- they will replace the team that was relegated in the division that team came from.

** Geographical location will not dictate where the promoted/relegated team participates the following year. It is based on results.

** It is necessary to increase Liam McCarthy Cup to 12 teams to allow 3 even groups of 8 for the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, and Nicky Rackard.

** We propose that the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard replace Division 2, 3 and 4 of the leagues as a new competition with the league merging into a knockout Championship for Tier 2, 3 and 4 hurlers.

** This will increase the number of games for all teams from all counties in hurling.

** Relegation and promotion to these competitions is determined by the championship.

** Likewise, relegation to the Joe McDonagh from the Liam McCarthy and the Division 1 League is determined by the Championship with the losers of relegation final in Liam McCarthy replaced for the following year in top tier by the winners of Joe McDonagh.

Example of Hurling Championship Structure

Liam McCarthy
Tipperary
Limerick
Waterford
Cork
Clare
Laois
Kilkenny
Dublin
Wexford
Galway
Westmeath/Kerry
Carlow/Antrim

Joe McDonagh
Carlow/Antrim
Westmeath/Kerry
Offaly
Meath
London
Derry
Down
Kildare

Christy Ring
Wicklow
Roscommon
Derry
Sligo
Armagh
Leitrim
Warwickshire
Tyrone

Nicky Rackard
Donegal
Longford
Monaghan
Mayo
Lancashire
Louth
Fermanagh
Cavan

The Liam McCarthy Championship Structure

The Liam McCarthy would be split into two groups of 6 (Munster and Leinster) as it is now but each team will play every weekend with no byes.

Munster
Tipperary
Limerick
Waterford
Cork
Clare
Carlow

Leinster
Kilkenny
Dublin
Wexford
Galway
Laois
Westmeath

** Top 2 teams in each group into Provincial final (winners of provincial Final into All Ireland semi Final, losers into quarter final.

** 3rd and 4th placed teams will play each other (cross over from each group) with winners to progress to quarter final.

** 5th place team in each group safe from relegation.

** 6th place team in each group will play relegation Final with loser playing in next tier following year (Joe McDonagh)

Tier 2, 3 & 4 League Championship Structure

Joe McDonagh
Antrim
Offaly
Kerry
Meath
London
Derry
Down
Kildare

Christy Ring
Wicklow
Roscommon
Derry
Sligo
Armagh
Leitrim
Warwickshire
Tyrone

Nicky Rackard
Donegal
Longford
Monaghan
Mayo
Lancashire
Louth
Fermanagh
Cavan

** Division 2, 3, and 4, Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard totally restructured in format.

** All have 8 teams, so they play each other as per groupings to determine League finish as outlined. We propose all three groups (because they all have 8 teams) follow the same format.

** After the 7 League Games the top two will contest the League Final and will also progress to knock out series.

Knockout Day 1 (two weeks after conclusion of group games)

** Once the 7 League games are finished, teams are ranked 1-8 in each table and knockout starts.

** Incentive for league finalists as both will qualify for final stages with winners straight into final and runners up into the semi-final.

** 7 v 8 (losers relegated for next season, winners progress to round 2)

** 5 v 6 (losers out winners progress to round 2)

Knockout Day 2 (one week later which means maximum of 3 weeks wait for teams 3 and 4 in all groups)

** Winners 7/8 v 3

** Winners 5/6 v 4

Knockout Day 3 and League Final (one week later)

** Winners of 7/8/3 V Winners of 5,6, 4

** League Finals (1 v2) winners through to Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring and Rackard Final. Final losers qualify for semi final.

Knockout Day 4 (Semi Final)

** Two weeks gap between day 3 and day 4

** League Final Runners Up (losers of 1 v 2 Versus the winners of 7/8/3 v 5/6/4

Knockout Day 5 is Joe McDonagh Final/Christy ring and Nicky Rackard finals (two weeks later).

** Winner promoted to replace the relegated team from higher division.

Benefits

** Equal opportunity for all teams to be promoted and relegated and no special treatment of any county.

** All Championships and Leagues run on same format and games take place on same day.

** Pathway to promotion and status is dependent on Championship performance.

** All players will have a minimum of 8 League/championship games at inter county level.

** Increased exposure and development opportunities.

** Tier 2,3 & 4 is run at the same time as Liam McCarthy

** Provides adequate time for u 20 hurling mid- week on gap weeks between games.

** Can facilitate playing Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard on same day and even have on same weekend.

National Hurling League format change for Liam McCarthy Teams

** We get rid of Pre -season competitions and start League in February for Liam McCarthy teams.

** To run the Championship will only require a maximum of 12 weekends to finish. This therefore allows us 7-8 weeks to run the Cup (which now becomes your preseason competition effectively).

** If we do this with the League, we have managed to maintain a National Hurling League in a new format and have League winners.

** For Liam McCarthy teams we go with 4 groups of 3

** Sample below (suggest they are drawn each year)

Group 1
Waterford
Wexford
Laois

Group 2
Kilkenny
Dublin
Westmeath

Group 3
Cork
Clare
Carlow

Group 4
Limerick
Galway
Tipperary

** Top two in each group qualify for knock out quarter finals.

** You need 5 weeks for maximum of 5 games.

** Might seem short but there is a long Championship to follow.

U20 – HURLING & FOOTBALL

Format

** To be played at the same time as the Provincial Football Groups and Hurling League, offering several weeks to complete the tournaments.

** No U20 player will be eligible to play for their senior county team in the Provincial Championship Groups or Hurling League.

Benefits

• It re-asserts the Developmental nature of the U20 competition, offering elite young players the opportunity to showcase their talents, without the risk of burnout.

• U20 matches could be played as curtain raisers to the Provincial Group & Hurling League games, allowing young players the chance to play in front of large crowds, giving the GAA further marketing opportunities.

• Those in their final year of U20 could be eligible to play for their senior county team in the All-Ireland Football and Hurling series later in the year.

Club Season

Format

** All club championships should preferably have 16 teams maximum, with 4 x groups of 4 guaranteeing 3 championship games for each side.

** All club leagues would be decoupled from championship and played over the months of April to July without intercounty players. However counties who insist on not choosing this option will need to play them over the 14 club weeks available.

** Reserve leagues and reserve championships could be played from April to August.

** Mid July to November would be an exclusively club only period with counties having no access to intercounty players in that period.

** No replays would be allowed for any club games, including County, Provincial and All-Ireland finals. Extra time would be used and if necessary, some form of shootout would decide the winner.

** Any player not on the inter county panel of 26 should, without exception, be released to play with his club.

Benefits

** All club players, regardless of success in the knock-out stages of their county championship, will have a defined season which provides certainty, meaning and regularity.

** With certainty of fixtures, County Boards can actively and effectively promote their county competitions, generating more interest and income e.g. selling club season tickets, offering stronger engagement with local sponsors, generating streaming income, etc.

** With a guaranteed schedule, clubs will be better able to develop their talent over a number of seasons, which will ultimately benefit the county team as new talent emerges.

** All clubs in the country would be guaranteed to have up to 14 successive weekends with their county players.

 

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