Liam Kearns disappointed by Tipp’s support for football changes
County board backs Páraic Duffy’s proposals despite panel and football board’s opposition
Liam Kearns: “I think this new system will make it very difficult for any team like Tipperary to repeat what Tipperary did last year, if it goes through.” Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
Tipperary manager Liam Kearns has expressed his disappointment with the county board’s decision to support the All-Ireland senior football championship revamp put forward by the GAA’s director general, Páraic Duffy.
Kearns suggested that Tipp’s achievements in 2016, when the county reached a first All-Ireland SFC semi-final in 81 years, don’t “seem to have counted for much” after Premier County delegates voted 36-20 in favour of the proposed changes to the championship format.
And Kearns that the introduction of an “elitist” round-robin series of games at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage from 2018, if passed at Annual Congress, would represent a step closer to separate ‘A’ and ‘B’ championships.
“We weren’t for it. Our management, the Tipperary senior football team and the football board made our views known to the county board,” said Kearns.
“Obviously, our views haven’t been taken into account and they’ve voted for it, in spite of our views. They’ve done it now, and that’s that. We’re disappointed but we just have to get on with it now.
“I think this new system will make it very difficult for any team like Tipperary to repeat what Tipperary did last year, if it goes through. It is disappointing that what we did last year doesn’t seem to have counted for much when it came to voting for this system.”
Kearns added: “The weaker counties should all be voting against it because there’s nothing in it for them.They’re selling the idea that it’s for the clubs but let’s be honest here, the Club Players’ Association is representing the clubs and they’ve asked for it to be shelved.
“The clubs will get nothing from April to August so their club season is now going to run in September and October. It’s all elitism, ‘super 8’ now and you have to ask how close you are to an ‘A’ championship and a ‘B’ championship.”
Tipperary football committee chairman Joe Hannigan added: “I put forward the reasons why we, as a football committee, weren’t in favour of it. We got beaten in the vote, that’s the way it is.
“We’d have no issue with it if it wasn’t for the introduction of more matches at the quarter-final stage. They could have done a whole lot more for clubs if that wasn’t the case.”