“I’ve absolutely no problem with it. I think the championship needs it, the game needs it.”
Tipperary Gaelic footballer Conor Sweeney is in favour of the second-tier competition the Tailteann Cup, which is due to take place in 2022.
Sweeney’s county are almost certain to feature in the competition as Tipperary are in division four next season and they need to reach a provincial final to stay in the Sam Maguire Cup.
David Power’s side won the 2020 Munster championship and Sweeney was captain during their victory against Cork.
The 2020 all-star gave his thoughts on the tiered championship format.
The Tailteann Cup has been delayed due to the pandemic.
“I’m all for it. I’m looking forward to it. I think it is what the championship needs,” Sweeney said.
“I think if you’re good enough to play in the All-Ireland and compete for Sam Maguire then you’re good enough to be there, if you’re not then you’re in the Tailteann Cup.
“If any team complains about that well then just go and get out of division four and get out of division three and prove to people that you’re good enough to compete for Sam Maguire.
“I’ve absolutely no problem with it. I think the championship needs it, the game needs it.
“I think the gap between the best teams and the teams at the bottom is just too big. You look at the results that have gone by on the opening weekend.
“There’s a lot of teams taking hammerings so I think it’s as clear as ever that there needs to be at least two divisions and I’m all for it anyway whatever way it goes.”
Conor Sweeney captained Tipperary to the 2020 Munster championship.
The main thing that Sweeney wants to see is the provincial championships kept, even if it means playing them earlier on in the season.
“I just hope they keep the provincials that’s all I would say on it,” he said.
“I think there were two proposals that came up and I’d be for the one keeping the provincials, either moving it earlier in the season to springtime so you can still play your Munster and Leinster championships and then maybe have your two-tiered All-Ireland – that’s the way I would go about it anyway.”
Tipperary have a terrible record against Kerry.
Tipperary face Kerry in the Munster semi-final on Saturday. Kerry have won the last 43 championship meetings between the teams.
Sweeney admitted that the chances of a Tipperary win are slim but his side would be very pleased if they produce a good performance.
“I know myself I’ve never beaten them. I didn’t know it was 43. It could be 53 or 63 – it makes no difference. We know how good they are,” the 2020 all-star footballer said.
“We’re aware we’ve never beaten them in this era. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and it’s something we’d love to achieve. If it’s going to happen this year or not I don’t know – the chances are slim.”
Kerry beat Clare by 17 points in the quarter-finals.
“Kerry are probably playing the best football I’ve seen them play in a number of years and I just sense they have that bit of ruthlessness to their game at the moment.
“I think that’s all sparked from their early exit last year so there a wounded animal which is extremely dangerous and it just so happens that we’ve probably been playing some of our worst football which doesn’t help the situation either.
“For a lot of people looking in you can probably only see one result but we have a job to do.
“We’re reigning Munster champions. We need to uphold that as best we possibly can and we just need to try and put in a 70-minute performance if we can at all.
“We’ll be really happy if we put in a good performance and just give ourselves an opportunity and give ourselves a chance because we just haven’t been doing that so far so that’s the goal from our perspective at the moment.”
Conor Sweeney was speaking at AIB’s launch of the 2021 GAA All-Ireland senior football championship.