Any Waterford GAA Club delegate who wishes to copy and paste the following come next month’s County Convention, feel free to do so. I’ve put a bit of thought into the future of both Senior Club Championship and I think it’s time to shake up a jaded, tired system.
Since there appears to be no appetite among delegates to reduce Senior Championship numbers in either code from 12 teams to 10 or 8, then why not consider the following.
Run the opening series as three groups of four clubs, which I feel would guarantee three really meaningful championship matches for everyone.
The three group winners and the best runner-up would then progress to a two-legged semi-final, meaning four clubs are then guaranteed five meaningful games and provides an opportunity for a team to make up for an off-day.
I would also suggest that both semi-finals are played as double headers, which would surely lead to sizeable gates and surely offset some of the financial impact from eliminating the need for quarter-finals. Bear in mind, you’re only losing two matches between the quarter and semi-final stages under such a format.
As for the relegation battle, the three clubs who finish bottom of their groups would play-off in a relegation league, guaranteeing a further two meaningful matches for the bottom three clubs, with the bottom club relegated. This would also emphasise the significance of score difference.
If we played both Championships under such a format, then seven clubs from 12 would get at least five run-outs, all of which have a level of consequence given the increased significance of score difference. And this would surely encourage more attacking play – and less sweepers! Both finalists would therefore play six championship matches, two less than what’s currently required to win a senior title.
And I’d advocate the abolition of replays, with a drawn match after extra time to be settled by either a 45/65 shoot out, or penalty kicks.
More meaningful games, in my view, would be a better option to just having games, which, quite often, are games for the pure sake of it, played in front of small attendances. So if our clubs are determined not to clean the decks, couldn’t we at least dust the shelves a little?