The GAA has confirmed that it will review of the structures of the All Ireland Football Quarter Final Round Robin system will take place at the end of the season.
If structural changes are deemed necessary after feedback from all 32 counties then these could be put to Congress in January 2019 ahead on next season’s Championship.
More issues might arise but the primary debate will centre on whether Dublin will be permitted to play two matches at Croke Park.
Donegal County Board members traveled to Dublin yesterday and met with Dublin officials though there was not a threat not to fulfill next weekend’s fixture, just a desire to clarify the rules.
A second round of ‘Newbridge or Nowhere’ would have most likely generated a stronger pushback from Croke Park officials than was the case in the Kildare saga and carrying on with a genuine promise to consider all aspects of home advantage is the best way through.
The great strength of the new Championship formats was always going to be the spreading of the biggest days of summer to different parts of the country.
Dublin is an outlier in terms of the number of fans they bring with them but it is likely that a game in a stadium like Semple Stadium or Pairc Ui Chaoimh where there would be sufficient or near sufficient capacity would be fine on all fronts.
Dublin’s dominance of the sport at present adds fuel to the debate over whether they should get an advantage of two games at Croke Park but like everything in sport that dominance will not last forever.
When the review takes place it is to be hoped that there will be considered thinking on what is best for the sport in an overall capacity and that it does not become an exercise in either ‘taking down’ Dublin or bashing those who administer the sport at national level.
To this end the more measured approach of Donegal this week as opposed to Kildare the week before will likely generate the best outcome.
The statement issued by the GAA yesterday afternoon laid out the timeline of what will now happen:
“A meeting between Senior officials and members of the Donegal County Committee took place in Croke Park earlier today. It was accepted as part of these discussions, that the rules in relation to the new All Ireland SFC Quarter Final Round Robin system had been democratically adopted at Congress 2017 and that these provided for all Round 1 games to be played at Croke Park and each county to subsequently have one home and one away game. While Donegal challenged how any team could nominate Croke Park as their home venue, it was acknowledged that there was nothing in Rule to prohibit this.”
“Donegal also requested in light of the issues they highlighted, that a review of the first year of the new championship structures be held by Central Council later in the year and that all counties be invited to submit their observations in this context. It was agreed that the issues highlighted by Donegal would be considered as part of this process and that if Central Council collectively felt that non-structural changes to aspects of the Championship were required, that these could be put to Annual Congress in 2019 for consideration.”