Oisin McConville: Tailteann Cup final should not be before All-Ireland hurling semi-final

“The fact that we are going to play the final on All-Ireland hurling semi-final weekend is probably not ideal.”

Oisín McConville has spoken out about the date for the Tailteann Cup final in 2021. This was after the GAA released their 2021 calendar for the upcoming inter-county season.

2021 GAA calendar.

Included in the calendar released were proposals to split the National League into North and South. This was in order to facilitate shorter journeys for counties given potential Covid restrictions.

Also among the new proposals was a county-first approach with All-Ireland finals finished by the end of July. This gives county boards the rest of the calendar year to run their club championships.

Potentially the most interesting aspect of the calendar was the new ‘B’ championship in football, called the Tailteann Cup. The new cup competition is for teams in Division 3 and 4 of the leagues at the end of the 2021 league season, who have not reached their provincial final.

Cavan, Mayo and Tipperary will compete for Sam Maguire as they won their provincial championships in 2020. This is even if any of those three counties are in Division 3 at the end of the league season.

Instead of heading into the qualifiers for Sam Maguire, the 16 teams will be put in an open draw knockout tournament. The semi-finals are scheduled to take place as a double-header in Croke Park. The final will then precede an All-Ireland hurling semi-final at the same venue.

Oisin McConville on Tailteann Cup.

The former All-Ireland winner feels it is a massive opportunity for the GAA to properly establish a tier system at inter-county level.

McConville, speaking to RTÉ, said: “The Tailteann Cup is something that has been called for. We might even need another tier in time: junior, intermediate and senior as the club has.

“Significantly, we need to market this and sell it really well to the Division 3 and 4 teams.”

However, for the Crossmaglen clubman it’s an opportunity missed. He feels the Tailteann Cup final should be a curtain-raiser to the All-Ireland final in July.

“The fact that we are going to play the final on an All-Ireland hurling semi-final weekend is probably not ideal.”

“If we are going to market it properly it needs to be played on All-Ireland final day as a pre-cursor to the main event.

“We have to be careful how we introduce it so this is a big year for the Tailteann Cup. We’ll see how it goes but for those teams in Divisions 3 and 4 it is a genuine opportunity to achieve and win something and try and build that way.”

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