Dublin boss Dessie Farrell calls for the GAA to scrap provincial competitions

dessie farrell

“I am no longer a fan of the provincial system.”

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell wants to see an end to the provincial system in GAA, potentially looking at an open-draw format to take its place.

Farrell guided Dublin to their sixth All-Ireland title in succession, continuing on the great work that Jim Gavin had done in winning six of the previous seven.

Dessie Farrell

Dublin have won 15 of the last 16 Leinster championships and the Na Fianna man admits that change is needed in order to engage players and fans alike.

“I definitely think the competition structure is the big one,” Farrell said when asked what one change he would make to the GAA on the Ciaran’s Cast podcast.

“And this might not go down well – particularly in Ulster – but I am no longer a fan of the provincial system.”

Regarding solutions, the former Dublin minor and Under-21 manager feels the GAA should experiment with formats to find the right one that suits all players and fans.

“I think if we could move beyond that and even experiment for a season or two,” Farrell explained.

“An open draw or whatever we come up with and there’s enough bright people in the organisation to land on something that would work and be very successful.

“It will really engage the players first and foremost in terms of whetting the appetite for meaningful competition but also the wider GAA base, the supporters and the public.

“I do think there’s a blank canvas there if you like to be very creative and come up with something that could be really very special and set us apart from all the other competition in the sports arena.”

Jim Gavin

In an insightful interview with Ciaran Cannon, the 1995 All-Ireland winner admits he felt the pressure taking over from six-time All-Ireland winning manager Jim Gavin and wanted to continue on his legacy.

“Following in Jim Gavin’s footsteps was always going to be a challenge, so there was a huge sense of relief for me, personally, at the end of it all,” he admitted.

“I was delighted for the players. They’re a special bunch of lads.

“I worked with them from the age of 12 onwards, so it was great to work with them again and reconnect with them.

“A lot of those players would have had a good handle on how I did things and what I was about.

“It was still different for me, even though I knew them so well from that formative stage of their lives.  Players can see the world differently as they get older, so it was interesting reconnecting and re-engaging.

“I’d have been in touch with them over the years when I wasn’t working with them, but it still isn’t the same as getting in full-time, getting under the hood and plotting and coaching your way through a highly-competitive season.

“I think we rekindled what was there previously.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

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