Back in the summer of 2012 the late Eugene McGee was given the task of chairing a football review committee with the aim of bringing forward suggestions and proposals to improve the structure of the Gaelic football season.
In common with many, I penned an idea of where I thought football should go in order to make one of the GAA's main 'products' more attractive as a sporting spectacle. Imbalanced one-sided championship matches are not peculiar to the current season, far from it.
In truth, there was no response to my humble offerings. I assumed it was a proposal that was too far-fetched, and not sufficiently far-sighted.
Many months later I was sitting in the press centre in Croke Park watching a match on the screen overhead and contemplating the game I was due to work on. Eugene McGee was at the next table, and as he prepared to go down to his working area, he drifted over in my direction.
"I like that idea of yours about linking the league with the championship," he told me to my utter surprise. "I'm going to suggest that our committee takes a look at it". And with that he was gone to view the game he'd come to report on.
And that was the last I ever heard of the matter.
However, with the GAA due to consider a radical change of championship structure in the autumn, what I had suggested to Eugene's group is not a million miles from what is under consideration.
Back in 2012 – and I remain convinced today – the National League has to be the starting point for any re-evaluation of structure. The ultimate aim being to produce a football championship that has the capacity to be much more balanced and attractive.
As is now the case, the season I envisaged would be shaped as follows:
(a) National League to run from mid-January to end of March, with finals included for the teams finishing first and second in their respective tables.
(b) Provincial championships during April into early May.
(c) All-Ireland series for 16 teams from mid-May to end of July.
Following on from the National Leagues, all of the Div 1 teams (including the two relegated counties) would be part of the 16 teams in the hunt for the Sam Maguire Cup. The top four teams in Div 2 are also guaranteed to be included, making up 12 of the sides in a proposed Top 16 ladder.
From position 13 to 16 on this table there would be a degree of uncertainty after the league is completed because winning the provincial championships has still to be recognised when finalising the Top 16 teams.
"In a most peculiar year, where the four provincial winners come from outside leagues 1 and 2, these same counties would be guaranteed entry to the All-Ireland series"
The sides finishing 5th and 6th in Division Two are most likely to be part of the same tier – but this will depend on the winners of the four provincial championships.
If there were a situation where a Cavan or Tipperary were to win their Ulster or Munster championships and they were operating in one of the lower divisions of the league, it would make no sense to exclude them from the All-Ireland series.
If a Division 3 or Division 4 team were to strike out and win their provincial title they would immediately replace the teams at the bottom end of the Top 16 ladder. In a most peculiar year, where the four provincial winners come from outside leagues 1 and 2, these same counties would be guaranteed entry to the All-Ireland series.
Were it not to happen, the teams finishing 5th and 6th in the league during springtime would be part of the Top 16 group and the teams completing their Division 2 league programme in 7th and 8th place would be replaced by the top two teams in Division 3.
This year that would see Derry and Offaly play for the Sam Maguire, while Westmeath and Laois would be included in the second tier competition, the Tailteann Cup.
What this would mean is that teams starting the year in Division 3 can still have as their aim promotion to the upper level and a real chance of playing for Gaelic football's most prized trophy in that same season.
In order to make the provincial series more meaningful, the winners of each competition would be guaranteed two home games and top team status in the All-Ireland series. Here there would be four group of four teams, with the top two emerging to play in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
The teams in each group – after the provincial winners – would be randomly chosen via an open draw. The same process would follow for each round of the championship.
A similar process would apply - open draw – with four groups for the counties competing in the Tailteann Cup, where the final would be held on the same day as the All-Ireland football final.
The minor final would move to another date to reflect the importance of having adult teams playing their final at the optimum time, and in view of the fact that minor is now under 17 years of age and many of these players are just 16 and probably placed in the spotlight at far too young an age.
As with all championship proposals in the GAA there are flaws in every system, and there are flaws here as well. The season is starting too early/ too late; the provincial championships are being down-graded, the Sligos and Antrims and Waterfords want to play and be in contention for the Sam Maguire Cup. Why shatter the dream of one day getting as close as Fermanagh did in 2004?
It is with a view to plotting a better way forward that proposals such as this – convoluted and all as they may be! - are coming forward at present.