Closing back door on All Ireland champions is trying to punish success

Wexford GAA have forwarded a motion whereby All Ireland champions from the previous 3 years would not be allowed to enter the qualifiers if they lose a game in their province.  This is the stupidest idea I have heard when it comes to restructuring the championship and amounts to nothing more than punishing teams for winning the All Ireland.

Lets take the Munster football championship.  Munster has 2 realistic All Ireland contenders every year.  Under this motion proposed by Wexford this would mean Cork or Kerry not being allowed to defend the All Ireland should they win it and then lose to the other, or any other Munster team, in the following year’s provincial championship.

The idea is to try and put more emphasis back on the provincial championship, but winning an All Ireland should not mean having to win 3 in a row provincial championships just to be allowed a chance to compete in the All Ireland series.  If it was applied to next years championship for example it would mean that should Dongeal, Dublin and Cork lose in their provincial championship, which is a possibility, then those 3 teams would not be allowed to enter the qualifiers, that would be it, season over and all because they had won an All Ireland within the last 3 years.

I agree that championship restructuring is something that needs to be looked at but punishing the All Ireland champions of the previous 3 years is not the way to do this.

Under this proposed motion it would have meant the following teams not having won All-Ireland’s if you apply it to previous seasons.

Padraic Joyce with Sam Maguire in 2001.

Padraic Joyce with Sam Maguire in 2001.

Galway in 2001 – All Ireland champions in 1998 and beaten by Roscommon in the Connacht championship.

Tyrone in 2005 – All Ireland champions in 2003 and beaten by Armagh in the Ulster championship.

Kerry in 2006 – All Ireland champions in 2004 and beaten by Cork in the Munster championship.

Kerry in 2009 – All Ireland champions in 2006 & 2007 and beaten by Cork in the Munster championship.

Peter Canavan lifts Sam Maguire in 2005.

Peter Canavan lifts Sam Maguire in 2005.

These are only examples of All Ireland winners.  In the 3 years after their 2003 win Tyrone did not win a provincial championship which would, under this motion, have made them ineligible to compete in the qualifiers for 3 years.  Hardly fair reward for winning an All Ireland.

I feel this is a motion being proposed by Wexford to try and stop Kilkenny winning hurling All Ireland’s.  Kilkenny are usually All Ireland champions and will usually have at least one in a three year period.  The result of this motion would mean any year they are beaten in Leinster that would be the end of their year, a convenient outcome of their motion.  Wexford have complained in the past that relegation from the National Hurling League Division 1 was bad for “Wexford hurling” and that the GAA needs to do something about it.  One solution might be not to get relegated.  If you are relegated you are not good enough and have next year to get promoted if Division 1 is where you feel you belong.  You cannot structure competition to reward everyone.  Will the next motion from Wexford be that anyone who beats them is disqualified from the competition?!!

This is a motion that should not be passed and one would hope that common sense will prevail when Congress meet next March.

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2 thoughts on “Closing back door on All Ireland champions is trying to punish success

  1. Hello JP. I’m enjoying your blog. It’s enjoyable. In relation to this post, I have to agree with you. I went from not caring about this particular piece of legislation, perhaps thinking it might be interesting, to agreeing with the points you laid out and with your overall opinion. Persuasive stuff. The key point was wrapped up here: “winning an All Ireland should not mean having to win 3 in a row provincial championships just to be allowed a chance to compete in the All Ireland series” (McLoughlin, 2012). I’m tired of people complaining about the championship structure and then either not suggesting anything or suggesting something ridiculous that would cause three times as many problems as it would solve.

    In relation to the questions you asked rhetorically in an earlier post- “It boggles my mind why GAA fans don’t get behind it more, especially those in Division 1, 7 games against quality opposition. A run of games that will include Kerry, Cork and Dublin to name a few, how could you not be excited by it.” Well it may be exciting for those who are from Division 1 counties. I’m certainly looking forward to the hurling league this year. For others though its a bit like watching Man United play Chelsea in The Carling Cup Final when you don’t support either team. It’s on telly, the players are good, you don’t like them, you don’t give a monkeys who wins, they would both like to win but only up to a point, and whoever wins it will all be forgotten about when the next set of league or champions league fixtures comes up. Also to go back to the example you offered of Mayo’s fixture list last year, the reason the Leitrim game is more interesting is because if Mayo lose that it will obliterate anything they achieved in the league in the minds of the players, management, media and most of the public. Also it will be the high point of the year in Leitrim life and be the thing all sports fans around the country talk about the next morning. And that’s the great thing about the championship- every year, somebody somewhere always beats someone.

  2. Hi John, I am glad to hear you enjoyed reading the blog and that you are in agreement with the stupidity of the Wexford motion. I understand your point about the league but the truth now is that for some teams there is a working feeling that championship doesn’t begin until August, so what of May, June and July?? It does depend on what you are looking for from your championship, I feel that some teams want a championship designed so everyone can win but there can only be one ultimate winner at the end of the year. But we should always remember we have a good game and that it is not as bad as what people make it out to be. There will be articles on this to come, stay tuned.

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