And so a weekend has concluded of one-sided games in the All-Ireland football championship.

The facile victories of Tyrone, Dublin and Mayo brings into sharp focus the gap that now exists between the leading counties and the rest.

But we've been down this road before.

Between them, Kerry and Dublin dominated the football landscape in the period from 1974 to 1986 - sharing 12 of the 13 All-Ireland titles that were played. Offaly's famous triumph in 1982 broke that sequence.

It was also a period in which the standard in Connacht was not strong enough to challenge for September glory.

It wasn't until Down landed Sam Maguire in 1991 that the Munster/Leinster stranglehold was broken. Donegal, Derry, and Down again would win the subsequent All-Irelands.

Around the same time, Connacht was beginning to find its voice, with Mayo narrowly losing two deciders, and Galway taking that winning step in 1998.

The new millennium saw the introduction of the 'back-door' which heralded a much more competitive football scene. Tyrone and Armagh would claim maiden All-Irelands, while Westmeath, Laois and Sligo achieved notable provincial success and Fermanagh and Wexford made it to the last-four in the race for Sam.

This decade, Donegal, under the stewardship of a driven Jim McGuiness, reached the promise land for only the second time.

Their success came a couple of years after Cork finally won an All-Ireland their talents deserved - a success, however, they could not build on.

And so to 2017. It hasn't been a bad football championship. Yet, the All-Ireland quarter-finals, excluding the drawn Mayo-Roscommon game, have been a hard watch with the results never in doubt from a long way out. 

2018 will see the introduction of the so-called 'Super 8'. It will mean eight extra games at this time of the year but will they be competitive? Should we just have a 'Super 4' and let that quartet play each other over the course of a few weeks?  

After their crushing defeat to Mayo in Monday's quarter-final replay, Roscommon manager Kevin McStay spoke about the target of making the 'Super 8' in 2018.

For the sake of the game, lets hope the Rossies, along with Galway, Monaghan, Armagh, Kildare and Cork and maybe others can step up to make the new format an engaging watch in 12 months' time.

Speaking on the Monday Game after Mayo advanced to the last four, Colm O'Rourke took issue with Pat Spillane's assertion that the strong will invariably get stronger in the footballing pecking order.

"My idea of the GAA is that it should rail against that sort of capitalism concept," he said.

"We should have a form of socialism and I worry about this drift to elitism; the GPA, the Sky deal which disenfranchises many and the 'Super 8' which will do little for 24 counties who won’t get an opportunity to play in Croke Park.

"The GAA need to change tack on a lot of fronts. The All-Ireland senior championship is just one of them - it's irrelevant to the vast majority of players.

"A lot of them are walking away and saying ‘we don't want to play with our county team anymore because there's too much effort for no chance of reward'.

Joe Brolly, in the main, agreed with with O’Rourke and added: "The system is entirely dysfunctional and elitist. The hierarchy will say that we are going to fill Croke Park for two great semi-finals and All-Ireland final and no doubt they will be great games.

"What we are doing is going down that professional route of audience participation, Super 8s and elitism, the rest is cut off."

Pat Spillane, while accepting that most would have predicted the identity of the four footballing semi-finalists at the start of the season, isn’t as pessimistic about the current state of affairs.

"Why are Kerry, Dublin, Tyrone and Mayo so far ahead of the rest when so much resources is been put into county teams at all level?"

"The championship is not dead," he boldly replied.

"Just look at Roscommon supporters and their joy and euphoria at winning a Connacht title or Down reaching an Ulster final.

"Every county deserves a chance to compete in the All-Ireland championship. We need a tiered system - different levels for different teams.

"In saying that no matter what system comes in the top teams will always come through.

"Let’s ask the question: Why are Kerry, Dublin, Tyrone and Mayo so far ahead of the rest when so much resources are being put into county teams at all level?"

Pat is right when he talks about the cream rising to the top. It's an inevitability in most sports. We can only hope that more teams get a chance to taste the cream over the next three years when the ‘Super 8’ is in play.