Laois and Carlow to propose alternative SFC motions at Congress

February 16, 2017

A view of the 2016 GAA Annual Congress at the Mount Wolseley Hotel

Laois and Carlow will bring alternative motions before Congress on Saturday week over the proposal to replace the existing All-Ireland senior football quarter-finals with a round-robin series.

The latter is set to consist of eight teams in two groups of four, but Laois are going to propose it to be introduced for the 16 counties from round one of the qualifiers. Those 16 teams would be split into four groups, with the top two sides in each advancing into the second round.

Laois secretary Niall Handy told the Irish Independent that their proposed version of the round-robin series would see it completed by the third weekend in June.

"The three round-robin games would be played over successive weekends so it's not as if they would cause delays," Handy stated.

"We feel that giving counties who don't reach their provincial semi-finals a minimum of three extra games would be a big help to them.

"Counties who get to the last eight already have played a number of games, but counties who lose early on in the provincial championships are guaranteed only one more outing. They are the ones who need more games after having put in so much effort and training."

Carlow's proposal is to have all the provincial championship semi-finals played by the third weekend in June, having the competitions' finals played by mid-July rather than the third week of the month.

Ger Lennon, the county's incoming Central Council delegate, says this would offer clubs two or three extra weeks for games during the summer time.

"There's no good reason for not starting the qualifiers earlier," he said. "There are often long gaps between being knocked out of the provincial championships and playing the first qualifier game which is bad for counties and clubs. Our proposal offers more room for club games."

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