There’s little doubt that in terms of profile and putting bums on seats the GAA has sold this year’s National Leagues short, particularly the hurling competitions.
Sure circumstances conspired to create what the media dubbed ‘Dead Rubber Sunday’, but despite some cracking finals the annual spring series has generally been ailing for what seems like aeons.
Solutions have been suggested as to how to create a keener edge and Tallow, Co Waterford man Pat Daly, who’s the GAA’s national games director and one of its more progressive thinkers, favours a ‘Super Sunday’-style solution where winning/drawing your last round match would be worth double the normal points, and that goals totals would be counted rather than score difference to encourage attacking play and decide the champions, rather than a final per se.
However, that all seems a bit artificial and desperate to me and would inevitably lead to complaints depending on what way the draw came out.
The only way of making the leagues more relevant and less of a training exercise is to make them worth winning, or at least doing well in. Wouldn’t County Boards and managers (who could always do with more cash in the kitty) be more inclined to make the best possible fist of things if financial allocations from Croke Park were at least partly based on where you end up in the table; where, as with the Premier League in England, each placing is worth a set amount?
Those are the sort of bonus numbers counties would definitely take notice of.