By Michael Moynihan
A meeting of county secretaries and other high-ranking GAA officials last week discussed the pros and cons of the new intercounty championship formats, but significant changes to those formats are not expected for 2019.
GAA president John Horan
The ‘Super 8’ series of inter-county football championship games and the round-robin provincial hurling systems both came up for discussion, with much of the focus on the hurling format, specifically the situation where some counties had to play championship games four weeks in a row.
In Munster, Waterford played four weeks on the spin and didn’t win a game, while Offaly played four weeks in a row in Leinster and were duly relegated from the Leinster championship to the Joe McDonagh Cup.
It’s likely that GAA officials will revisit the format ahead of next year to ensure a more level playing field, particularly with president John Horan indicating last June that the two provincial councils could co-operate to synchronise their playing schedules to ensure a “rest weekend” in the middle of their championships.
“It seems to have had an impact on some of those teams that have got caught like that,” Horan said of teams playing four weeks in a row.
“There is an opportunity for the Munster and Leinster councils to come together next year. Leinster started a week earlier than Munster and finished a week earlier.
“I think that would be to the benefit of all teams involved.”
The GAA’s Central Council will make any changes to the formats at its meeting next month.
Meanwhile, it’s understood that former Young Footballer of the Year Aidan Walsh and several other members of the Cork senior football panel will not be involved with the team in 2019. Walsh played senior hurling for the county in 2015 and 2016 and has already been linked to a return to the hurlers.
Cork shipped a heavy defeat to Kerry in the Munster SFC final before being beaten by All-Ireland finalists Tyrone in the qualifiers and are expected to rebuild next year.