Fermanagh’s McManus open to a B championship but wants shot at Ulster success
The two proposals regarding a B championship that the GAA has been reportedly mulling over are broadly similar
Fermanagh’s Cian McManus and Tyrone’s Darren McCurry. Photograph: John McVitty/Inpho
Fermanagh’s Cian McManus has admitted he is open to a new B championship in Gaelic football as long as the GAA gives all counties a shot at provincial success.
The GAA’s Central Council deferred a decision on a preferred B championship model until its January meeting with a view to submitting a proposal to February’s Annual Congress.
Both of the models currently being considered reportedly provide for all teams to begin the championship via the traditional provincial route, with a second tier competition subsequently kicking in.
Fermanagh contested this year’s Ulster final though they are the only Northern county never to have won the title, and McManus said he would hate to see a scenario whereby they were prevented from entering.
“You might say we’re hovering around the 16 rank mark but we always want to improve,” said McManus. “We got to an Ulster final this year. If we were in a B championship then I don’t know how you’d have worked that. We were in an Ulster final and we upset a big top-six team, a top-four team really in Monaghan, and I think it would take away from the underdogs element if you barred those counties. You had the likes of Carlow and Laois doing well in their province this year too, providing another couple of upsets. So I think the provincial part of it is key.”
The two proposals regarding a B championship that the GAA has been reportedly mulling over are broadly similar.
One sees all teams starting off in their province, with Division 3 and Division 4 counties that don’t reach their provincial final then redirected to a second tier competition.
The other includes all counties from the start again, but diverts Division 3 and Division 4 counties into a second tier championship if they don’t advance beyond Round 3 of the qualifiers.
Based on either of those models, Fermanagh would not actually be affected as a Division 2 team in 2019,although they did spend last spring in Division 3.
McManus, who came on at half-time in July’s Ulster final against Donegal, said he would hate to ever see the provincial structure completely dismantled, as many favour.
In that scenario Fermanagh and Wicklow would go down as the two counties never to have won their provincial title.
“That would be at the back of your mind I suppose,” said McManus of potentially going down in history without an Ulster win. “We wouldn’t want that, definitely not. I don’t think Wicklow would either.”