Seamus McEnaney against two-tier Championship in wake of football drubbings

Updated: Monday, 03 Jun 2013 11:26 | Comments

Waterford were beaten by 26 points in the Munster SFC by Kerry
Waterford were beaten by 26 points in the Munster SFC by Kerry



Former Monaghan and Meath senior football manager Seamus McEnaney is not in favour of introducing a two-tier football Championship.

Heavy defeats for Westmeath and Waterford over the weekend continued a familiar theme in this year’s summer programme in the wake of drubbings handed out to Galway, Limerick and Tipperary.

Following Westmeath’s 1-22 to 0-09 loss to Dublin, manager Pat Flanagan feels that the gap between the elite teams and the rest has grown.

Having a secondary competition, he feels, is something that would benefit many players and would give them something realistic to aim for during the summer.

However, McEnaney is unsure whether players and coaches would have appetite to play in such a competition.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Sunday Sport, he said: “We tried the Tommy Murphy Cup a few years ago and it didn’t work due to lack of support. I was managing Monaghan at the time and the view was that when you were out of the Championship – that was that.

“At the end of the day, there is only one Sam Maguire. Every team in the country wants to win it. Realistically only four or five teams can win the All-Ireland at the moment. It’s very hard to see teams from Divisions 2, 3 and 4 doing it. Yet, every team wants to play in the provincial Championship.

“In Ulster they probably say no to everything, but they would definitely be against scrapping the provincial series. Every team believes they can win it. I know that Monaghan would feel that, as of now, they have a chance of lifting the title.

“It would mean so much to them. I just don’t think teams en masse would agree to scrapping the provincial campaigns, and I similarly thinks teams like Monaghan and Westmeath would not want to take part in a second-tier competition."

"We tried the Tommy Murphy Cup a few years ago and it didn’t work due to lack of support" - Seamus McEnaney

When asked about Galway’s heavy defeat to Mayo in Connacht this year, McEnaney was of the view that they have the material to mount a more sustained effort in the years ahead.

“An improvement could see them win Connacht next year. Their two All-Ireland U-21 wins gives them hope. Look at Donegal’s situation. They were relegated to Division 2 four years ago.

“Subsequently, they lost heavily to Armagh in the qualifiers. Jim McGuinness comes in and they are now bidding for a hat-trick of Ulster titles and they are the current All-Ireland holders. Any team, provided they can get a lift, can achieve much.”

Previews, reviews and features of all the GAA Championship action on Championship Matters from 20:35 on Thursday 6 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only).

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