Incoming Munster chairman Ryan favours revised football competition structure

Tipperary man keen to further strengthen the position of the provincial councils

Newly-elected Munster GAA chairman has stated his preference for the revised football competition structure. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Newly-elected Munster GAA chairman has stated his preference for the revised football competition structure. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Newly-elected chairman of the Munster Council, Ger Ryan, has stated his preference for the revised football competition structure which would retain the existing leagues and provincial championships while adding a further round-robin stage for both the Sam Maguire and Tailteann Cup.

Central Council will this Saturday consider two fresh proposals which have been drawn up in the aftermath of last year’s special congress, which failed to endorse a new championship structure for 2022, but did consent to further consideration of such at next month’s annual congress.

Ryan, the former Tipperary county press officer who moves up from Munster vice-chairman, was part of the taskforce which considered options for the football championship restructure following that special congress, and believes the second proposal is a “change for the better while preserving what is good in our current structures”, including the provincial championships.

“There are now two proposals to be put to Ard Chomhairle for consideration at its meeting on 22nd January,” Ryan said. “The red proposal is an improved version of proposal B put to special congress, and provides for a league-based championship with round-robin provincial championships earlier in the season.

“The green proposal retains the existing leagues and provincial championships, although played in a shorter timeframe, with round-robin structures used for both the Sam Maguire and Tailteann Cup post the provincial championships.

“The two proposals reflect the desire of special congress and the wider association for change and provide a clear choice for counties. I would encourage all counties to give close consideration to both proposals and to bring their views to the Ard Chomhairle meeting.”

It is expected that Central Council will also decide on preferred proposal ahead of congress. Ryan added: “My personal preference is for the green proposal, which I believe provides change for the better while preserving what is good in our current structures. I look forward to a new structure being adopted and it would be a great to see consensus emerge around one proposal.”

Ryan is also looking at ways to further strengthen the position of the provincial councils: “I believe that provincial councils play a significant role . . . are best positioned to provide support, services, resources and advice to the counties and clubs in their geographic areas. But to do this effectively it is essential to have the strategies, plans and capabilities in place to fulfil their responsibilities and obligations.

“We have commenced the process of preparing a development plan for Comhairle na Mumhan and I look forward to working with my fellow officers and council members to complete it in the coming months.

“We need to be clear on the role and priorities of the Council. A key focus area for us as mentioned by the rúnaí in his report is to look at how we at provincial level can provide enhanced services and support to counties and clubs on matters such as general administration and governance, finance, commercial matters and games development.”

Other matters Ryan is looking to improve during his term as provincial chairman is the recruitment of referees: “We will need to look at new ways to recruit and develop referees if we are to avoid a serious shortfall so this will be a key focus area over the next couple of years. It is a tall order but one thing we must work harder to do is to ensure greater respect for referees, that is a key step in attracting new people to refereeing and maintaining high standards.”

Meanwhile, Leinster GAA have confirmed Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow will host the O’Byrne Cup semi-final between Laois and Kildare on Wednesday evening (7.30), the winner advancing to the final against Dublin, also set for the Carlow venue on Saturday (3.0). Both games, should they finish level at full-time, will go straight to a penalty shoot-out.

The Munster Hurling Cup Final between Clare and Limerick will be played in Cusack Park in Ennis on Sunday (2.0), with the McGrath Cup final between Cork and Kerry set for Saturday at Fitzgerald Stadium (2.0). Both games will be streamed live by Munster GAA.

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