“Now that people have seen how change is a good thing, maybe next year we’ll get a league-based championship.”
Colm O’Rourke is hoping the Covid-19 pandemic is the catalyst for the GAA to move to a league-based championship.
The pandemic has forced the GAA into changing its calendar structure to a split season – between club and county – and O’Rourke wants to go one step further by altering the format.
In 2020, the championship was played with the existing provincial competitions but with no qualifiers.
This meant that it was knockout football, which produced a number of shocks, most notably Kerry and Donegal getting knocked out before the All-Ireland semi-finals.
While The Sunday Game pundit was a fan of the format – given the circumstances – he would love to see a league-based championship for 2022 and beyond.
“The idea would be to have a championship run off in a tight timeframe, maybe up to August, and then let the club start,” O’Rourke told RTÉ’s Sunday Sport.
“The split season worked well last year – the one good thing to come out of Covid.
“Now that people have seen how change is a good thing, maybe next year we’ll get a league-based championship.
“I think it will energise the whole scene and liberate a lot of counties.”
No league finals.
Meanwhile, the former Meath player doesn’t think the National League finals will be played this year.
He made the suggestion that each county should get three league games “as a warm-up for the championship” so the inter-county season can be run off as quickly as possible.
Currently, teams are not able to train collectively due to Level 5 restrictions.
“I know the GAA have organised football into groups of four, so you then could have three league games for each county as a warm-up for the championship,” O’Rourke added.
“Forget about the final in each group and then go into a knockout championship, which may have some backdoor element.”