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GAA president calls for beaten Division 4 teams to be separated from All-Ireland qualifier competition

Updated: Wednesday, 13 Jan 2016 18:03 | Comments

Carlow were thrashed by Laois in the opening round of last year's Leinster Championship and then heavily beaten by Longford in the qualifiers
Carlow were thrashed by Laois in the opening round of last year's Leinster Championship and then heavily beaten by Longford in the qualifiers

League Division 4 teams beaten in their provincial championships will enter their own championship, separate to the All-Ireland series, if a new proposal favoured by GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail goes through.

A number of proposals aimed at revamping the structures of football’s showpiece tournament have been mooted in recent months.

Among those is a move away from the qualifier system for teams at the bottom rung of the Allianz League.

“If you are a football county, currently in Division 4 of the league, yes, play your first game within the provincial championship system,” Ó Fearghail told RTÉ Sport as it was announced that Allianz would continue to sponsor the football and hurling leagues until 2020. 

“But if you lose that game, and unfortunately the evidence is that a lot of the Division 4 teams do lose the first round, instead of going into the qualifiers and being beaten again by maybe a strong team, that they should have one championship for themselves.

“And that’s a proposal that will go before Central Council.

"I think it would offer a lot of hope and excitement for counties in Division 4"

“I believe it’s a good one. I think it would offer a lot of hope and excitement for counties in Division 4.

“Let’s see what Central Council’s view on that is.”

He added: “I can see some changes. The counties strongly like the provincial structures.

“But they do feel that some of the counties, maybe the counties of lesser achievement and who might find things difficult, there is a view that some of those counties, particularly if they are operating in Division 4 of the Allianz League...should have their own championship after they play in the provincial championships.

“So we do have a recommendation of a motion coming to Central Council next Saturday and that will form part of it.”

Antrim, Leitrim, Carlow, Waterford, Wicklow, London, Louth and Wexford are currently in Division 4 of the league.

The Gaelic Players Association had proposed a format that would see all teams play three championship games, in addition to the provincial tournaments.

They claimed it had the backing of 85% of the counties.

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