Carlow senior football manager Turlough O'Brien takes aim at Tier 2 'tokenism', reports

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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Defeat to Leitrim killed Carlow’s League hopes

Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien

Carlow senior football manager Turlough O’Brien has described the GAA’s proposal for a Tier 2 championship as a "sop" and suggests it will do nothing to address any imbalance in inter-county football, according to the Irish Times. 

Carlow is one of the eight teams that lost their round-one qualifier last weekend (along with Waterford, Fermanagh, Tipperary, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow and London).

But O’Brien insists he would have no appetite for a secondary competition at this stage.

According to the Irish Times, he said: "I just think it is tokenism, a sop, and they’re not addressing the problem.

"Croke Park appear gung ho on this, but I don’t think they’re looking at the overall picture. The Super 8s were supposed to bring football to a new level. It didn’t work out that way and I don’t think it will this year.

"We’re adding in fixtures, filling the season more for the inter-county player, but that will impact on the club scene. We’re really going towards elitism here, with even more focus on the top counties, drive those teams to a higher level.

"As far as I can see this doesn’t make it any fairer. Funding is a major issue, and the competitions are favouring the big teams, with big panels.

"I’ve nothing against Dublin, I think they’ve done brilliantly, but to me, the championship is about the dream, those big days, the magic, and that will be lost for a lot of counties and why players won’t buy into it long term.

"We are a 32-county based organisation, built on club structures, not only the cream at the top. The best competition is the league, it’s just played at the wrong time of the year.

"So why not try something more radical, like playing the league and the championship concurrently? Keep the championship knock out, because the league is where you make progress; championship is about magic.

"If they were played concurrently, that would make it very interesting. And that makes it a shorter condensed season. We can’t keep adding fixtures and say we’re going to treat clubs fairly.

"The GAA needs to ask themselves what are we? Are we going to be semi-pro, with eight top teams?"