Pat Spillane believes the All-Ireland football and hurling championships will be moved to a straight knockout format once concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have eased.
The competitions have not been played in a knockout format since 1996 in hurling and 2000 in football, however, with the all sporting activity cancelled for the foreseeable future it is unlikely the GAA will be able to conclude the 2020 All-Ireland series in its usual format.
The Kerry legend believes the championship should revert to a straight knockout for one year only which will allow county boards to get club activity finished.
“It’s almost certain, I presume, that the League is going to be discarded,” Spillane said on RTE 2fm’s Game On.
“Which means Meath and Louth avoid relegation, and the bad news for Cork is that they won’t get promoted.
“The second tier competition, the Tailteann Cup, that was supposed to come in later in the year, you can forget about that.
“Playing the back-door, and round-robin, and the Super 8s – I think that’s all gone. My gut is that for this year, it will revert to straight knock-out, the old style, traditional Championship.
“Straight knockout, it will mean plenty of time for the clubs. You can get all the club activity finished, and it’ll mean you can run off the All-Ireland Championships in a much more concise timeframe.”
If there is a silver lining to take from the current GAA shutdown, Spillane believes that a straight knockout championship this summer offers weaker counties a far greater chance of taking down one of the heavy-hitters.
“Back doors and round-robins and Super 8s favour the strong teams, because you might catch a strong county once, but you rarely catch them the second time.
“If it was a straight knockout, is there a strong chance of maybe Dublin being beaten in a once-off All-Ireland semi-final?
“Oh yes there is, far greater than that.
“The only doomsday scenario is if they follow that format, and say Kerry win Munster and Dublin win Leinster, the short straw for winning Munster is to play the Leinster Champions Dublin.”
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