Two Bornacoola men could have a major role in helping the fate of beaten Provincial finalists in the All-Ireland Qualifiers if new proposals from the GAA’s National Fixture Planning committee are accepted in the coming months.
Former Leitrim County Board Secretary Declan Bohan and GAA Head of Games Administration Feargal McGill are members of the committee who are hoping to bring in a new championship structure that would reducing the waiting time between Provincial championship fixtures and the Qualifiers and eliminate the six-day turn-around for beaten Provincial finalists.
With only one team to have escaped the hoodoo of beaten provincial finalists with a six day turn-around, Dublin in 2001 when they defeated Sligo in 2001, the GAA are seeking to give beaten Provincial finalists a greater chance of success and bring in a new system to ensure complete co-ordination between the Qualifiers and provincial championships.
In a radical departure, the weekly Qualifier draw would be replaced by one pre-championship draw each year with the Provincial championship draws determining what side of the qualifier draw a team would find itself on; beaten teams knowing the dates and pathway through the qualifiers they would face.
No team would have to play within a week of a championship loss but the maximum wait for the first qualifier will be reduced to three or four weeks. It would mean the Qualifers would start earlier in June with more games spread out over the June/July period rather than a glut of qualifier games in early July.
The aim is also to free up more time for club games with counties having a much clearer idea of when their County teams could be playing.
After a favourable reception from Central Council, the National Fixture Planning Committee will seek feed-back from delegates at this year’s Congress. Positive feed-back would mean motions coming before the 2013 Congress with the aim of introducuing the new system the following year.