Close sidebar

Pat Gilroy suggests that the GAA should merge smaller counties

Former Dublin manager Pat Gilroy has suggested that the GAA should merge smaller counties to make the All-Ireland Football Championship more competitive.

There has been much talk in recent days about the possibility of splitting Dublin into a number of different teams.

While that move would certainly even the playing field, the former Dublin boss suggested a different solution on RTE’s The Sunday Game.

“I think every fella should have a chance of winning an All-Ireland. If you had a blank sheet of paper you would not design this championship or structure the way it is.

“Like in American sport, you’d say every 300,000 people – that’s a team. And it would move all the time. The [county] might move into another one because populations grow.

“For me the whole thing needs to be looked at and say the reality is there’s more urbanisation coming. Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway – they’ll grow and the rest of them will shrink.

“You have to think 2050 here and say what could it look like. But you’re taking all sorts of sacred cows there,” Gilroy said.

Would other counties like to see Dublin split up?

Opposition to merging counties would be inevitable, as many old rivals may be forced to play as the one team.

Gilroy however, felt that some counties would be quite happy to play under the same banner if it meant a better chance at All-Ireland glory.

“There are natural fits – Monaghan and Cavan. A lot of them lads go to DCU and they’re very close, they’re very similar.

“I know that’s a big mental shift but why would you keep on something where the small amount only ever win?

“People have shown that even when you’re small, Tyrone have done [brilliantly] – 20 years at the top when they’d never won [an All-Ireland]. And there’s an unbelievably good structure.

“I don’t believe there’s anyone in Tyrone who want to see Dublin broken up because they want to beat them and they probably will one day. Same in Kerry.”

The St Vincents club man also felt that hurling All-Ireland was in need of GAA intervention, despite the tournament being far more competitive than it’s Gaelic football equivalent.

“Hurling I think is worse to be honest because we’ve no participation in huge parts of the country.

“That’s not right. We’ve given up. So money should go into that because it’s a great competition. But imagine if you could grow it to 20 teams?” Gilroy said.

Read More About: , , ,