Two football championship proposals to be debated ahead of October's Special Congress

June 29, 2019

Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire Cup. ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy.

The GAA's Central Council has this morning unanimously agreed to send forward two separate proposals on the formation of a Tier 2 All-Ireland senior football championship out to the wider membership for discussion.

A decision on the proposals will be taken at a Special Congress which will be staged at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on October 19, with a view to implementation in time for the 2020 Championship summer.

Proposal A will feature the Provincial Championships as present with the current four rounds of All-Ireland Qualifiers reducing to two rounds and open to teams from Allianz Divisions 1 and 2 and any Allianz Division 3 and 4 teams who qualify for their Provincial Finals.

The Tier 2 Championship format of Proposal A is a straight knock out competition for 16 teams from across Divisions 3 and 4 that do not make their Provincial Finals.

There is the possibility for the competition to be organised on a geographical basis – northern and southern conferences for first round ties, quarter-finals and semi-finals to ensure less travel for teams and supporters, while also retaining local rivalries.

The semi-finals would be the only senior inter-county GAA events on their respective weekend – barring a major replay.

Proposal B which has gone forward for discussion is similar to the above and also features Division 3 and 4 teams that do not reach a Provincial Final entering a new Tier 2 championship.

A key difference is that in the event that a Division 3 or 4 team do reach a Provincial Final, to make up 16 teams in Tier 2 their place in Tier 2 would be taken by the lowest ranked Division 2 team from that year’s Allianz league.

The format for the Tier 2 Championship in Proposal B features an initial round of games which then creates a winners’ group and a losers’ group and so offers beaten counties a way of playing their way back into contention.

Proposal B would be played out on the following lines:

  • 16 Teams involved
  • Rd 1: 8 Teams v 8 Teams
  • Rd 2a: 4 Winners Rd 1 v 4 Winners Rd 1
  • Rd 2b: 4 Losers Rd 1 v 4 Losers Rd 1
  • Rd 3: 4 Rd 2b Winners v 4 Rd 2a Losers
  • QF: 4 Rd 2a Winners v 4 Rd 3 Winners
  • Semi-finals & Final

An additional prize for the winner of the final under both proposals would be a place reserved in the following year’s All-Ireland Sam Maguire Championship, irrespective of their league position.

It is also envisaged that both proposals would have dedicated broadcast coverage and a marketing and promotional campaign with a dedicated All-Star selection and tour.

The finals under both proposals would take place at Croke Park.

The proposals will now be sent to counties for discussion with a final wording on the proposals to be agreed at a meeting of Ard Chomhairle in September.

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