Leinster would 'more than likely' support four provinces of eight

Leinster GAA Secretary Michael Reynolds claims that the county is open to the idea that the senior football championship in Ireland starts with the four provincial conferences of eight teams.

In his annual report, Reynolds admits that he would like to see Leinster add a round-robin section for Division 3 and 4 teams to the current structure before adopting Division 1 and 2 provinces in the knockout phase.


That is comparable to a proposal from GAA president John Horan in his time as Leinster president, which was narrowly defeated at the congress.

However, it is Reynolds’ support for the restructuring of the senior football championships that will attract the most interest.

Following the evaluation report for games published last month, Reynolds writes: “The report contains two proposals for Inter County Football with particular emphasis on the provincial structure.

“Yes, if we had a blank canvas, we would more than likely go with four regions of eight provinces each. However, this would not necessarily lead to an equal population base.

“Such a gap may well be suitable for football, but hardly for swinging!

“The provincial councils refer to established interests from time to time.

“This indictment at the provinces does not reflect the reality – provinces exist because the provinces (so far) want it that way. There is much more to a provincial council than inter-provincial championships.

“I propose that for our province a round robin classification for provinces in division 3 and division 4 prior to joining the provinces divisions 1 and 2 in the quarterfinals is worthwhile.

“It is only a few years ago that such a motion received much support from Congress, but failed to meet the required two-thirds requirement.

“Why not investigate the feasibility of having the said structure for 2021?”

Reynolds emphasizes the difficulties that provinces will face later this year in completing their club championships in time for provincial competitions.

“The decision to put forward the All-Ireland Club Championships is a matter of concern for a number of provinces.

“Some provinces now believe that they will have trouble completing their own championships on time. This is a legitimate concern.

“A possible solution, however, is to move some games that must end in the day.

The removal of possible repetitions at certain stages would give a concrete (with the exception of the weather) finishing time for all championships.

“If we want to go to a more secure calendar, then this is a nettle that we must all contain.”

Like his Ulster equivalent, Brian McAvoy, Reynolds is also concerned about the timing of the U20 football championship, which is returning to a spring start next month.

“The U20 Inter County Competitions, or rather the uncertainty about it, continue to cause problems at club level.

“It is always a struggle to play enough games at a suitable time of the year. This becomes increasingly difficult when the second and third levels are taken into account.

“Until this is remedied in a concrete way, these struggles will continue.

“The use of April as a club has a mixed reaction. Most provinces, according to their merits, use the window to offer competition activity.

“However, the lack of willingness to start championships here may be one of the reasons why provinces struggle to finish on time. The gap between this and the final phase of the championships is the ongoing issue.

“Luminaires remain a consistent problem within the organization. I often wonder if there will ever be a program on which there is consensus.

“I doubt that it is, but we have to keep improving where we can.”