The Leinster Council are proposing a bye to the Championship Semi Finals for Dublin next year
Next Wednesday, Leinster secretaries will meet to discuss proposals for the 2020 Senior Football Championship. One proposal being considered is to put the Dublin Senior Football panel straight into the Semi Finals of the competition. This will mean one less game for the reigning provincial champions.
Not a new proposal, the idea was originally floated back in 2015. Dublin demolished Longford in that year’s Quarter Finals. Current GAA President John Horan was Leinster Chairperson back then and it was he who tabled the idea.
When the proposal was made later that year, the majority of counties in the province, including Dublin themselves, opposed it. But since then Dublin dominance in the province has grown further. And Council see a massive gap between them and the chasing pack. The Dubs now have an average winning margin of 14 points. That average spreads from the time they claimed their first Leinster in 2011 in this current run unbeaten.
Dublin’s ever growing dominance
In the 2016 and 2017 Quarter Finals, Carlow and Laois pushed Dublin hard. But lost the battles by 12 and 11 points respectively. In the last two Quarter Final however, Dublin hammered Wicklow and Louth 23 and 26 points.
Surely the financial benefits of having Dublin in the competition from the Quarter Finals must outweigh the prospect of them not being included. Over 16.5k supporters filled Nowlan Park in 2016 when Dublin took on Laois. And while the figures dropped to just over 13k and 11.5k the following two years in Portlaoise, it was back up to 14.3k this year with Dublin and Meath sharing a double header.
A fresh idea for the provincial draw.
Dublin will go straight into the semi final under the proposal being discussed. Longford, Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow, Louth, Offaly and Westmeath would be entered into a ‘bowl one’ scenario. They would play in preliminary quarter-finals where they would be joined by one of the other 2019 semi-finalists.
Meath, Kildare and Laois would be in ‘bowl two.’ Two of that trio would still go straight into the quarter-finals.
Current Leinster Chair Jim Bolger says the that they’ve discussed to give competing counties more time to prepare to face the provincial champions. And Leinster’s Competition Controls Committee are generally supportive of the proposal.
So what they carry this proposal? With Dublin currently playing their Quarter Final games outside of the capital in recent years, you’d have to wonder would the Leinster Council propose that to continue for their future Semi Finals? Or would it mean that Dublin would be back to playing all of their Championship games at GAA Headquarters, something the majority of Dublin fans may not be supportive of?