This year’s League rammed home an important point about the current state of Gaelic football - the six teams that stayed in Division 1 this year are playing a very different game from the rest.
The elite ply their trade in the top flight - Dublin, Kerry, Mayo, Donegal, Monaghan and Tyrone are cut above the rest.
There was some nice football played in the Division 3 and 4 finals on Saturday, while there was excitement at the end of the Division 2 decider between Galway and Kildare at Croke Park on Sunday.
There wasn’t a huge difference in standard apparent across all three games. Then the big beasts came out to play in the Allianz Football League Division 1 final.
Dublin and Kerry served up a bone-jarring, tooth-rattling 70-minute classic with just the right about of badness to keep it interesting and more than enough man-on-man duels, bursts of individual skill, sub plots and sublime scores to justify the price of a ticket (€30, in case you’re wondering).
It may have been a relation to the football we had seen played earlier in the weekend but not a very close one.
Many people give out about the standard of football these days, but they would do well to look back on pre-Christmas League games from 20 years ago and more and chances are they’d be watching a hell of a lot worse.
The game is in a healthy state and the fact that there are six teams operating at a serious level is an improvement on many eras in the past when the number was as few as half that or even just two counties.
And this brings us to our next point - the fact that we’ve enjoyed a serious springtime of football and now have to wait until the end of July before we see another game of consequence.
There can’t be a meeting of two teams that stayed in the top flight this year before the June 18 Ulster semi-final that may contain Tyrone and Donegal - that may not happen and even it does it won’t be knock-out.
We are at the beginning of six-week break, allowing time to reflect on a hugely entertaining Allianz Football League campaign before the start of the Championship proper, discounting Sligo’s Connacht SFC trip to New York on May 7.
During this time the GAA should think hard about the urgent need for a radical structural overhaul.
Huge crowds around the country paid into Division 1 matches from February to April in a competition that crescendoed with a high octane final between The Dubs and the Kingdom at Croke Park watched by more than 50,000 paying customers.
Long gone are the days when the League was viewed as an annoyance by players, a chance to run the rule over a few new lads by managers and with almost complete apathy by supporters who stayed away in their thousands.
The springtime competition is now a streamlined ten-week juggernaut that gives great bang for its buck.
Below the top tier and the aforementioned elite, the counties are grouped into tiered divisions matched to teams’ abilities and recent record. Mismatches are infrequent, the chance for progression is real and there’s a price to be paid for losing games.
Division 3 was a highlight of this League 2017, Louth blazing away early, the final round of regular season games climaxing in excitement and ever-changing permutations, and ended with Tipperary rubber-stamping last year’s All-Ireland semi-final appearance with promotion and silverware.
Earlier this year the GAA’s Annual Congress voted to compress the Championship timetable starting in 2018 while, at the same time, adding an extra eight games during July and August thanks to a round-robin quarter-final series. But this was badly missing the point
It’s long past time that Croke park embraced the League properly, scrapped the some-teams-get-a-second-chance, sometimes-it’s knockout, sometimes-it’s-not Championship and gave footballers and their fans the one fit-for-purpose competition they deserve.