Home GAA “They’ve Been A Huge Hit” – Conor McManus Defends Super 8s

“They’ve Been A Huge Hit” – Conor McManus Defends Super 8s

Monaghan star Conor McManus believes dead rubbers are inevitable in any group setup as he defended the structure of the Super 8s. 

Gaelic Football fans shared their frustration at the system on Sunday as Dublin and Tyrone both fielded weaker teams for their final clash in Omagh, with both having already secured their semi-final places.

Many have called for the Super 8s to be scrapped and for the return of the quarter-finals, however, speaking on the Sunday Game, McManus shared his support for the competition despite the dead rubbers in the final round.

“Over the last two years, by and large, they’ve been a huge hit. Yes, there’s been a few bits and pieces about fixtures and where they should be, whether they should be in Croke Park or not but you have eight of the best teams in the country playing against each other at the height of the summer.

GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Qualifiers Round 4, Pairc Tailteann, Co. Meath 8/7/2018 Laois vs Monaghan Conor McManus of Monaghan

“We probably got the best of them [on Saturday] in Castlebar where you had a do or die match and that was played as such. Today, you had Tyrone and Dublin, through no fault of their own, they got their business done early and they have a six-day turnaround into next week, why would they play their team?

“It’s the nature of having group stages like that, you take the World Cup for example, you take the Champions League, where you have group stages, you’re going to have dead rubbers and we knew that before it started.”

McManus played in a thrilling game in the Super 8s last year when Monaghan and Kerry drew in Clones to set up an exciting final round of games to decide who would make it through to the final four.

The 32-year-old referenced that game, and also Mayo’s surprise win over Donegal at the weekend, as examples of how the Super 8s has provided plenty of entertainment for supporters.

Aidan O'Shea

“We tend to look at the negative more so than the positive. I think there’s been some very good games in the Super 8s over the past two years. If you go back to last year, Monaghan had Kerry come to Clones, brilliant game and the last day we had to go down to Galway, brilliant game, there was a great atmosphere there.

“Tyrone and Donegal were up in Ballybofey on the last day as well, all to play for, you had Donegal going to Castlebar, all to play for, so I think it’s thrown up a lot of good games”.

Tomás Ó’Sé also stated his support for the competition, believing it is a better format than the traditional quarter-finals while he also pointed to the benefits for counties like Cork and Roscommon to progress and test themselves against the top teams in the country.

However, he also outlined a number of areas where he feels the format needs to be tweaked in order to make it fairer for all teams involved.

“Mayo, who have played in seven out of the last eight weeks, have six days from the Super 8s to prepare for their semi-final against Dublin which I think is outrageous, I think it’s absolutely wrong.

“Everyone is giving out about the Super 8s because of what happened in the Dublin/Tyrone group. I think there’s a few simple changes, in the Tyrone/Dublin group, they won their first two games, if you put Tyrone against Dublin in the second game, then Tyrone have to win their last game.

“I think today was an absolute farce what happened up in Omagh. I don’t blame Dublin or Tyrone for doing what they did, they had to do it.

“But I also think, the second games, bring them out of Croke Park, I don’t think Dublin should have their neutral and home [there].

“The likes of Roscommon, the likes of Cork, I know they haven’t won big games but there are levels within the Super 8s, you’re never going to have eight powerful teams who have the possibility of beating each other, it’s just not there. Is it better than the quarter-finals? I think, yes.”

About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. She is a former reporter with Sporting Limerick and is a huge fan of the GAA. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter