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(So Called) Weaker Counties

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Replying To supersub15:  "Fairplayalways (Offaly)

The very fact that your own beloved county of Offaly has experienced success at the highest level in both codes, your last display of football greatness was when you stopped Kerry going for 5 in a row, in hurling your last great victory was when you (Offaly) clipped Limericks wings in that particular All Ireland final, Offaly has provincial senior titles and All Ireland success that begs the question, what has happened to Offaly to cause their fall from grace, both codes but in particular your football teams have hit rock bottom.

I would seriously appreciate what your own views / opinions are and why they haven't bounced back to where they were 20 / 30 years ago.

For the record I wish Offaly the best of good luck and I hope they bounce back sooner rather than later."
thanks for this, firstly I would say our last great success was 1998 hurling final win over Kilkenny (not Limerick which you are thinking of) last great football sucess (apart from U20 last year) would be winning Leinster in 1997 (15 years after beating kerry in 1982) and winning the NFL propper in 1998 (no divisional finals) and from memory we did win a divisional final division 3 with a decent team beatin Down around 2006 or so, hurling has bee less sucessful since 1998. So while we are in a wilderness of somewhat now (bar u20 last year) we do seem to throw up a few national or provincial titles be they getting scarcer now too..

My post is really for these counties who never make a break through, such as yourselves, Waterford, Fermanagh, Wicklow, Kilkenny in football, Antrim Wexford etc. etc..bar 1976 and maybe a few years ago Sligo won a Connaught, but no follow up etc..Clare in 1992 football and Leitrim in 1994 football winning provincials, but again no follow up at senior or even under age..my post is why, are these counties despite producing some great footballers never able to make a break through of even winning NFL or provincial, All Irelands are a different beast, but many of the weaker counties are gone every year, out of the provincial before the cuckoo has even sang for the first time almost...why is that??

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 24/02/2022 13:06:22    2402207

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Replying To BarneyGrant:  "If you read that history you will find that the county boards of 1901 were indeed the strongest counties and the ones that defied the attempt to destroy the organisation after 1891. Due to the fact that they were controlled by the Irish Republican Brotherhood.


Same counties not uncoincidentally were also by and large those which were to the fore in the Tan War. Same counties that allowed themselves to be intimidated by Catholic hierarchy, the media and the anti Parnellite faction in Home rule Party in 1891 behaved little differently after 1916."
Longford was very much to the fore in the war of independence, and also didn't have any county board throughout most of the 1890's. Both of those things are true. There were many other examples of counties which were to the fore in the war of independence, and didn't have any GAA activity during the 1890's due in large part to the Parnellite split (Longfords County Board didn't reform again until 1904). To argue that those who had county boards by 1901 are the same as, and therefore representative of, those who were to the fore in the war of Independence is a wild drawing together of different strands of history. There is no meaningful correlation between the county boards of 1901, the reasons they existed then while others didn't, and the strength or not of counties in the GAA today. The latter (which is the subject of this discussion) has much different dynamics driving it.

LongfordgaaAbú (Longford) - Posts: 215 - 24/02/2022 15:09:48    2402233

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Replying To oneoff:  "Over the years Waterford were able to feild competitive teams at Junior level and they had successful teams. Same with Leitrim who as far as I remember played Waterford in the 2004 All Ireland final.

In the past some countries only had a Junior team. The Roscommon team from the 40s started that decade as a Junior team. I know that was a long time ago but teams not playing in the senior championship isn't something new."
Yes indeed. Roscommon only narrowly beat a Limerick team, that had several of the great hurling team of that era in the Junior All Ireland Semi Final of '39.

Oldtourman (Limerick) - Posts: 3771 - 25/02/2022 08:25:15    2402286

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "thanks for this, firstly I would say our last great success was 1998 hurling final win over Kilkenny (not Limerick which you are thinking of) last great football sucess (apart from U20 last year) would be winning Leinster in 1997 (15 years after beating kerry in 1982) and winning the NFL propper in 1998 (no divisional finals) and from memory we did win a divisional final division 3 with a decent team beatin Down around 2006 or so, hurling has bee less sucessful since 1998. So while we are in a wilderness of somewhat now (bar u20 last year) we do seem to throw up a few national or provincial titles be they getting scarcer now too..

My post is really for these counties who never make a break through, such as yourselves, Waterford, Fermanagh, Wicklow, Kilkenny in football, Antrim Wexford etc. etc..bar 1976 and maybe a few years ago Sligo won a Connaught, but no follow up etc..Clare in 1992 football and Leitrim in 1994 football winning provincials, but again no follow up at senior or even under age..my post is why, are these counties despite producing some great footballers never able to make a break through of even winning NFL or provincial, All Irelands are a different beast, but many of the weaker counties are gone every year, out of the provincial before the cuckoo has even sang for the first time almost...why is that??"
You're looking at this very retrospectively. Yes many teams didn't push on. Some teams did progress though and maintain it.

In the early 90s neither Armagh or Monaghan were great shakes in Ulster but they made tangible progress over many years, attained good successes and have certainly been at a higher base level for quite some time now.

You're picking the teams that didn't maintain improvements and forgetting those that did.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3799 - 25/02/2022 10:17:40    2402310

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Replying To Whammo86:  "You're looking at this very retrospectively. Yes many teams didn't push on. Some teams did progress though and maintain it.

In the early 90s neither Armagh or Monaghan were great shakes in Ulster but they made tangible progress over many years, attained good successes and have certainly been at a higher base level for quite some time now.

You're picking the teams that didn't maintain improvements and forgetting those that did."
you say sucess, yes Armagh were always a competitive team in 1980's (if I remember as child) and were in league finals and semi finals and a few Ulster finals (maybe not many but some) They were in AI final in 1977. Monaghan won Ulster in 1979, and the great team of 1985 and 1986, I think without going googling that they won another Ulster in 1989 I think...so to say Armagh and Monaghan were not competitive in 1980's is a bit harsh on both, in a time when the National League was as good as an All Ireland to some teams, and both were more prominent in knockout stages than many other counties. Armagh did go on to make the All Ireland breakthrough in 2002 and we 2nd best in 2003 etc..Monaghan apart from a few more Ulsters (have they won a league since (not sure), being very unlucky in some some knock out championship games, have never reached the Holy Grail as they say...I know everyone cant win the AI, but success competitive wise and success as in title wise are two very different things...yes, they have held their own to a degree being competitive most years, but with the odd nod for Ulster, are never really seriously considered as All Ireland contenders..like the counties I mentioned, Paul Finlay and was their a Peter Smith and many others, shot the lights out some years and these players were some of the best during them campaigns, but no real break through made at the end of the day. These teams fade then in time and no one really remembers their star players...Yes compared to the other so called weaker counties I mentioned, Armagh and Monaghan are ahead of them, and given their 70's and 80's success have a bit of pedigree there somewhere, the counties I refer to above, no more than your own Antrim, Carlow, Wicklow, etc. never seem to have had any such push at all..its same thing, year in, year out...thats a genuine question, not a criticism, why is it so..

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 25/02/2022 11:18:42    2402317

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "you say sucess, yes Armagh were always a competitive team in 1980's (if I remember as child) and were in league finals and semi finals and a few Ulster finals (maybe not many but some) They were in AI final in 1977. Monaghan won Ulster in 1979, and the great team of 1985 and 1986, I think without going googling that they won another Ulster in 1989 I think...so to say Armagh and Monaghan were not competitive in 1980's is a bit harsh on both, in a time when the National League was as good as an All Ireland to some teams, and both were more prominent in knockout stages than many other counties. Armagh did go on to make the All Ireland breakthrough in 2002 and we 2nd best in 2003 etc..Monaghan apart from a few more Ulsters (have they won a league since (not sure), being very unlucky in some some knock out championship games, have never reached the Holy Grail as they say...I know everyone cant win the AI, but success competitive wise and success as in title wise are two very different things...yes, they have held their own to a degree being competitive most years, but with the odd nod for Ulster, are never really seriously considered as All Ireland contenders..like the counties I mentioned, Paul Finlay and was their a Peter Smith and many others, shot the lights out some years and these players were some of the best during them campaigns, but no real break through made at the end of the day. These teams fade then in time and no one really remembers their star players...Yes compared to the other so called weaker counties I mentioned, Armagh and Monaghan are ahead of them, and given their 70's and 80's success have a bit of pedigree there somewhere, the counties I refer to above, no more than your own Antrim, Carlow, Wicklow, etc. never seem to have had any such push at all..its same thing, year in, year out...thats a genuine question, not a criticism, why is it so.."
Tyrone had a good team in the 80s and 90s but along with Donegal would have still been considered a weaker county nationally if we had of been having this discussion in the late 70s. Antrim won 6 in a row Ulster titles in the early part of the 20th century. Yet are considered a weaker county in this debate. Fermanagh are the only county never to win an Ulster title. Wicklow are the only county never to win Leinster. Despite being a relatively affluent and populous county. Wexford have been mentioned on this thread as a weaker county yet have reached 26 provincial finals , winning 10 and winning 5 all Irelands also. What I'm saying is what a weaker county is depends on when you are having this debate.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 5713 - 25/02/2022 12:07:32    2402330

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Replying To Viking66:  "Tyrone had a good team in the 80s and 90s but along with Donegal would have still been considered a weaker county nationally if we had of been having this discussion in the late 70s. Antrim won 6 in a row Ulster titles in the early part of the 20th century. Yet are considered a weaker county in this debate. Fermanagh are the only county never to win an Ulster title. Wicklow are the only county never to win Leinster. Despite being a relatively affluent and populous county. Wexford have been mentioned on this thread as a weaker county yet have reached 26 provincial finals , winning 10 and winning 5 all Irelands also. What I'm saying is what a weaker county is depends on when you are having this debate."
I hear the "historic cases" being made but I am talking about consistently, (I am in my early 50's) and following GAA all my life, and I could write out every year who will not make a provincial semi final almost, let alone a final, let alone win one (shocks happen I know but rarely) and will never win a propper league under the current set up..this debate is not about who was weak in the 80 and 90s (Tyrone won an ulster in 1984 ad 86 loosing the AI final which they might have won) and Donegal won Ulsters in early 70s and again in 83...so saying they were weak back then is not correct, they won something...these counties I am on about havent in my lifetime and dont appear to be going to...

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 25/02/2022 12:41:30    2402338

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "thanks for this, firstly I would say our last great success was 1998 hurling final win over Kilkenny (not Limerick which you are thinking of) last great football sucess (apart from U20 last year) would be winning Leinster in 1997 (15 years after beating kerry in 1982) and winning the NFL propper in 1998 (no divisional finals) and from memory we did win a divisional final division 3 with a decent team beatin Down around 2006 or so, hurling has bee less sucessful since 1998. So while we are in a wilderness of somewhat now (bar u20 last year) we do seem to throw up a few national or provincial titles be they getting scarcer now too..

My post is really for these counties who never make a break through, such as yourselves, Waterford, Fermanagh, Wicklow, Kilkenny in football, Antrim Wexford etc. etc..bar 1976 and maybe a few years ago Sligo won a Connaught, but no follow up etc..Clare in 1992 football and Leitrim in 1994 football winning provincials, but again no follow up at senior or even under age..my post is why, are these counties despite producing some great footballers never able to make a break through of even winning NFL or provincial, All Irelands are a different beast, but many of the weaker counties are gone every year, out of the provincial before the cuckoo has even sang for the first time almost...why is that??"
Point taken and you are correct however, I was referring to the 1994 All Ireland senior final against Limerick, Offaly as we all know was managed by Limericks own Eamonn Cregan, what made that final great imo was the fact that Limerick was leading by 00-05 with 5 mins of normal time left and ended up winning by 00-06, in general I am making reference to your senior teams, likewise your win over Kerry stopping them from winning 5 in a row was in my opinion another great final in fact I would rate that final higher than Dublin winning 5 in a row, again it's only my opinion, no offence meant to our Dublin friends.

Your thread title (So Called) Weaker Counties is what you would like to be debated and that's fine with me, I just mentioned the two All Ireland finals because they stood out over and above most others, again however to me it is very obvious that over the past 20 ish years your beloved Offaly fallen back noticeably, (not including underage up to u 20).I was interested in knowing why your senior hurlers and footballers have slipped back so much.

supersub15 (Carlow) - Posts: 2625 - 25/02/2022 13:52:42    2402349

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "I hear the "historic cases" being made but I am talking about consistently, (I am in my early 50's) and following GAA all my life, and I could write out every year who will not make a provincial semi final almost, let alone a final, let alone win one (shocks happen I know but rarely) and will never win a propper league under the current set up..this debate is not about who was weak in the 80 and 90s (Tyrone won an ulster in 1984 ad 86 loosing the AI final which they might have won) and Donegal won Ulsters in early 70s and again in 83...so saying they were weak back then is not correct, they won something...these counties I am on about havent in my lifetime and dont appear to be going to..."
List them

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 5713 - 25/02/2022 13:59:43    2402354

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Replying To Viking66:  "List them"
ah here, are you not reading my messages at all...Antrim, Fermanagh, Carlow, WIcklow, Waterford, Wexford, Leitrim, Sligo Westmeath, Tipperary, Clare, Laois(the latter 6 or 7 appprox or did win provincials - 1 a piece in last 30 years but thats it) Longford, Louth, Limerick, Kilkenny...is that enough for you?..take out the Leitrims, and Sligos and Tipps who have won just one provincial and you will still have good few with nothing won in last 50 years...those that one one, won no more since...

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 25/02/2022 15:31:28    2402366

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Over 90% of team sports in the world are dominated by a small percentage of teams. American sports are the exception as the governing bodies in these sports use salary caps, draft picks to ensure all teams have a chance of winning a championship. In the GAA world the counties who haven't managed to win a provincial or all ireland to date; my own included, will find it next to imposdible to do so in future due the top teams becoming more professional and sponsorship money becomibf an increasingly bigger factor every year. In terms of my own county, a lot of issues are self inflicted due to vest interests at club and county board level. We need a top to bottom clear out in terms of the key decision makers in the county plus we probably need a level of expertise from outside. In my view, the gaelic football landscape will mirror hurling in ten years time whereby there will be a handful of teams competing against each other for major honours and the rest will be confined largely to minor competition which the top table and media will pay little or no attention to.

wicklowsupport (Wicklow) - Posts: 1653 - 25/02/2022 15:39:18    2402368

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Replying To wicklowsupport:  "Over 90% of team sports in the world are dominated by a small percentage of teams. American sports are the exception as the governing bodies in these sports use salary caps, draft picks to ensure all teams have a chance of winning a championship. In the GAA world the counties who haven't managed to win a provincial or all ireland to date; my own included, will find it next to imposdible to do so in future due the top teams becoming more professional and sponsorship money becomibf an increasingly bigger factor every year. In terms of my own county, a lot of issues are self inflicted due to vest interests at club and county board level. We need a top to bottom clear out in terms of the key decision makers in the county plus we probably need a level of expertise from outside. In my view, the gaelic football landscape will mirror hurling in ten years time whereby there will be a handful of teams competing against each other for major honours and the rest will be confined largely to minor competition which the top table and media will pay little or no attention to."
There are more competitive teams at the top in hurling than football in recent times.
An informal Big 4, (3 of them winning senior All Irelands plus "Bridesmaids" Mayo) has evolved.
Dublin, Tyrone and Kerry won 18 of 22 AIs this Century.

Seanfanbocht (Roscommon) - Posts: 418 - 25/02/2022 16:21:29    2402377

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Replying To Whammo86:  "You're looking at this very retrospectively. Yes many teams didn't push on. Some teams did progress though and maintain it.

In the early 90s neither Armagh or Monaghan were great shakes in Ulster but they made tangible progress over many years, attained good successes and have certainly been at a higher base level for quite some time now.

You're picking the teams that didn't maintain improvements and forgetting those that did."
In fairness to him he clearly states, - - -

My post is really for these counties who never make a break through, such as yourselves, Waterford, Fermanagh, Wicklow, Kilkenny in football, Antrim Wexford etc. etc not of those that did or do.

supersub15 (Carlow) - Posts: 2625 - 25/02/2022 18:50:17    2402400

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "ah here, are you not reading my messages at all...Antrim, Fermanagh, Carlow, WIcklow, Waterford, Wexford, Leitrim, Sligo Westmeath, Tipperary, Clare, Laois(the latter 6 or 7 appprox or did win provincials - 1 a piece in last 30 years but thats it) Longford, Louth, Limerick, Kilkenny...is that enough for you?..take out the Leitrims, and Sligos and Tipps who have won just one provincial and you will still have good few with nothing won in last 50 years...those that one one, won no more since..."
Yes but those years they won they were hardly weaker counties. And nothing stopping them winning again in years to come.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 5713 - 25/02/2022 19:00:21    2402406

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Replying To wicklowsupport:  "Over 90% of team sports in the world are dominated by a small percentage of teams. American sports are the exception as the governing bodies in these sports use salary caps, draft picks to ensure all teams have a chance of winning a championship. In the GAA world the counties who haven't managed to win a provincial or all ireland to date; my own included, will find it next to imposdible to do so in future due the top teams becoming more professional and sponsorship money becomibf an increasingly bigger factor every year. In terms of my own county, a lot of issues are self inflicted due to vest interests at club and county board level. We need a top to bottom clear out in terms of the key decision makers in the county plus we probably need a level of expertise from outside. In my view, the gaelic football landscape will mirror hurling in ten years time whereby there will be a handful of teams competing against each other for major honours and the rest will be confined largely to minor competition which the top table and media will pay little or no attention to."
I have often wondered how the bottom 5 or 6 of the weakest counties have survived the past 70 or 80 years as a constant underdog. Croke Park officials at the highest level ignored the plight of the weaker counties and left them to fend for themselves, Historical facts and reminders of torturous times the association experienced at the hands of nasty bandits shall we say is what has imo kept the weakest of the weak counties ready willing and committed to fielding a starting 15 when needed.

The vote for integration allowing equality & gender balance will take place tomorrow, if I had a vote I would be voting yes even though the weaker counties will most defiantly find it very difficult to compete and continue as they are when the yes vote kicks in, never the less it's a no brainer, however a safety net to protect the weaker counties should have been put in place long before now.

You are more than correct when you say, - counties who haven't managed to win a provincial or all ireland to date; my own included, will find it next to imposdible to do so in future due the top teams becoming more professional and sponsorship money becomibf an increasingly bigger factor every year.

Your post was well received.

supersub15 (Carlow) - Posts: 2625 - 25/02/2022 21:48:08    2402422

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Replying To Seanfanbocht:  "There are more competitive teams at the top in hurling than football in recent times.
An informal Big 4, (3 of them winning senior All Irelands plus "Bridesmaids" Mayo) has evolved.
Dublin, Tyrone and Kerry won 18 of 22 AIs this Century."
I agree there are more competitive teams at the top in hurling but overall the gap between the various tier in the hurling is much bigger than in the football. I don't think the new tiered football competition is going to do much to help weaker counties become more competitive and bridge the gap that exists. A team only gets better when resouces are invested in a county and the expertise exist within the county to use these resources wisely. And also a team gets better by playing teams at a slighly higher level, playing the same team year in year out in division 4 and playing them again in a second tier comp does not and will not help these teams compete against the professional teams in division 1.

wicklowsupport (Wicklow) - Posts: 1653 - 26/02/2022 18:31:57    2402534

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Replying To Viking66:  "Yes but those years they won they were hardly weaker counties. And nothing stopping them winning again in years to come."
No' but they haven't followed up...that's part of my argument..one offs and no follow ups..might win again?..yeah I might win the lotto next week, probably wont though..

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 28/02/2022 20:19:26    2403121

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "No' but they haven't followed up...that's part of my argument..one offs and no follow ups..might win again?..yeah I might win the lotto next week, probably wont though.."
There are different reasons why they might not follow it up for a good few years. In our case alot of our top footballers choose to play hurling.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 5713 - 01/03/2022 09:36:08    2403149

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Replying To Viking66:  "There are different reasons why they might not follow it up for a good few years. In our case alot of our top footballers choose to play hurling."
thats fair enough, but some counties are not breaking through at all, and for all the one offs, regardless of reasons why the teams didnt follow up, some counites do/did (not many)

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 01/03/2022 11:28:04    2403199

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The tailteann cup gives weaker counties more games in the summer which will allow their players more opportunities to play and train together - which should help them get better.

The reason Tyrone, Kerry, Dublin and Mayo win the most matches over the past 20 years is because they get to play more every summer , thus allowing them develop- combining that fact with almost constant div 1 football is their younger players learn their trade at a higher level than everyone else. This keeps them at a higher level all the time.

The best way to allow weaker counties to develop is to switch the league to a div 1A /1B and 2A/2B option so they get a game or two every year against the big boys - they bigger counties then have a lower standard of opposition during their development, thus bringing their standards down.


The alternative is splitting Dublin in 3, Kerry in 2 etc.

No one wants either of the above so the only answer is amalgamation of counties who don't get into the Sam Maguire race if they want to enter it.

That would mean 4 groups of 5 with the top 16 counties and an amalgamated team from each of Connaught, Munster, Ulster and Leinster added in.

tirawleybaron (Mayo) - Posts: 988 - 01/03/2022 13:21:47    2403240

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