GAA | 4 months ago
Further proof the National League is a superior competition to the Championship
Incontrovertible

Give the people what they want.

In the run up to Congress it is good to repeat this mantra on loop to any delegates you may meet on your travels.

This year's Championship structure tweaks involve bloating the quarter-finals out to a "Super Eight" competition and tightening the season up by a fortnight.

For some it is adding to the problem, for others it is far too little.

You can't please all the people all the time... Unless you are running the National League, which is fast becoming the most crowd-pleasing tournament on the GAA calendar.

The Irish Independent are reporting that Dublin's trip to Tralee on March 18 - IN MORE THAN MONTH'S TIME - is already sold out.

The promise of another battle between the great rivals in Austin Stack Park has seen 10,500 tickets snapped up with a month to spare. Remarkable.

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After more than 16,000 packed into Breffni Park to watch Dublin-Cavan and over 10,000 were in Castlebar to witness Mayo's opening defeat to Monaghan, one could almost jump to the conclusion that people want to see the best teams play each other on a regular basis. Before August.

Should they get good news after next week's health and safety inspection, the capacity in Tralee could be upped to 12,000, which would be more than attended last year's Munster SFC semi-final between Kerry and Clare (11,358).

The other provincial semi-final, between Tipperary and Cork, drew a crowd of 2,734, which is still considerably more than the 722 that attended the Premier County's league opener at home to Antrim.

This suggests the league is not perfect but, by offering fans regular matches against evenly-matched opposition, it is providing a far superior product than what we get in early summer - which is taken up with provincial mismatches and lengthy gaps between games.

There is still much resistance to downgrading the provincial championships and removing them from All-Ireland structure, but for how long can the GAA maintain the status quo?

The league is better than the Championship. The cart is before the horse. The whole thing is arse over tit.

Westmeath manager Tom Cribbin gives brutally honest take on how to play Dublin on The GAA Hour. Marc Ó Sé discusses who will replace Diarmuid Connolly.  Listen below or subscribe here on iTunes.


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Dublin GAA, Kerry GAA, All-Ireland Football Championship, allianz leagues 2017