Will the proposed new league structures work?

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CLUBS throughout the county are currently studying a blueprint which has been drafted by a sub-committee of the Armagh County Board which is looking at ways to make changes to the All-County League structures.

Currently four county leagues are in place with two teams being promoted and relegated from the relevant sections.

The Championship structures in Armagh can see clubs paired from different divisions - for example this season when Eire Og from division four played division two outfit Tullysarren in the Intermediate Championship.

Culloville, who finished in a comfortable position in division one, were winners and on their way to victory beat teams from lower divisions.

Should the new structures be given the green light however the idea would be to have three divisions with senior championship participants hailing from division one.

Intermediate sides would come from the second division and the junior championship would be made up of teams from division three.

While the new scenario, which is currently doing the rounds, would not need to be passed at the forthcoming Armagh convention, should the clubs in the county agree the competitions control committee could run with the idea in the New Year.

Remaining loyal to the status quo and retaining the current four league structure has seen initiatives falter in the past.

Some club delegates however are expressing the need for change but in the uncertain financial climate the main plank of the argument to retaining the present system would appear to be based around lost revenue.

Whilst three leagues with 16 in each would fit nicely into the seeding of championship structures, clubs who would only be guaranteed seven home games per season would certainly see a fall in revenue.

While it has been gathered that promotion in the proposed structures would be three up and three down the situation would still arise concerning the amount of meaningless games, particularly towards the end of the season.

Should a newly revamped championship structure see a group structure being set in place more revenue could be gathered for the Armagh County Board who, like many units in the GAA, would be feeling the financial pinch at present.

A lot of fine tuning however would be linked to any new concept.

A serious concern amongst players over recent years has been the lack of free periods surrounding the July holiday fortnight.

Club players are, in many cases forced, to take holidays in the closed season.

Should a new three tier league structure be put in place clubs who are already struggling at the bottom of the fourth division would be facing games which are far more competitive.

Another interesting scenario could also arise is when a club wins, for example, an Intermediate or Junior Championship.

Would they remain in the same competition the following season and attempt to retain their title which their league standings suggests or would they progress to a higher championship level.

With senior championship winners going through to the respective provincial club competitions having been successful in as few as three games, league winners who win premier grades showing consistency in at times 22 games it would appear get little reward for their efforts.

Perhaps a forward thinking Ulster Council could set in place the idea that division one winners go through to provincial competitions along with championship winners.

And should the same team win both then the league runners-up would clinch the second provincial spot.

Whilst a loss of revenue would certainly arise under the proposed one way league it has been gathered that revenue from the games played in the early group stages of a revamped championship would go directly to the clubs involved.