Why it’s time for a two-tier championship

It was a very low-key weekend in the championships, with the Dublin v Galway hurling game the highlight. Galway were poor enough, yet Dublin weren’t able to put them away. It’s unfair that Galway have to go to Tullamore for the replay next Saturday. The game should be in Pearse Stadium.

  The Dublin footballers scored their predictable easy win against Longford. The result shows once again that the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in football is growing with each passing year. However, when you have the powerful provincial councils ruling the roost with iron fists, then the prospect of a change in championship format any time soon is very unlikely.

  There has to be a two-tier championship devised, in my opinion. It should be based on league performance, which would elevate the status of our secondary competition even further. Four groups of eight teams with the top 16 playing off for the Sam Maguire and the bottom 16 playing off for a ‘B’ All-Ireland championship. The GAA could play the ‘B’ final as a curtain-raiser to the main final with the minor final on earlier in the day.

  Last weekend Longford – and indeed Waterford – were hammered, as were Carlow some weeks ago. The GAA must act or the inter-county game will die in some of these weaker counties.

  Tipperary look like a side on the rise. We know they had a great U-21 team this year and they will be a test for Kerry in the Munster semi-final. Fermanagh won fairly easily against Antrim, but that’s about as far they will go in Ulster.

  This weekend there are a few interesting games in prospect. The Dublin v Galway replay on Saturday in Tullamore will be followed by Kildare v Laois in the Leinster quarter-final. This should be a good game. Laois were the best team that Roscommon faced in the league this year and I have a feeling that they might just pip Kildare in a tight game.

  In Ulster, Derry are at home to Down in Celtic Park and anything could happen here. Down blow hot and cold and they will be up against it here. Derry to win narrowly for me. In hurling in Leinster Offaly should beat Laois, while Wexford will be too strong for Westmeath.

  The big hurling game is in Munster this weekend when Cork take on Waterford. There is a new confidence in Waterford this year and they have a very important league win against Cork under their belts already, but I have a feeling that Cork were not at full tilt that day and were holding a bit in reserve. I fancy Cork to win another thriller.