Sports

McCartan getting radical

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

DOWN manager James McCartan has encouraged the Ulster GAA Council to have a rethink on the Ulster Football Championship in order to give teams a level playing field.
He believes that his concept of two group stages within Ulster would streamline the fixtures calendar and give players more game-time with their club and county.
“If Ulster wanted to be radical and take a step forward and still retain the Ulster Championship they could run with a group of five and a group of four where everyone in the group of five get four games and everyone in group of four gets three games and then we have a semi-finals and final," said McCartan.
“So we would play games every week, you don't wait a month to play your next match, you compress it as much as possible which makes more run for club football and more inter-county football for inter-county players."
McCartan was speaking after Down's emphatic All-Ireland Qualifier win over a poor Leitrim side.
“I feel that the whole All-Ireland is not even in that certain teams have certain advantages and the obviously the quality will rise to the end. I feel sometimes that there are teams still in the Championship come August but there are teams that are better who are out," he said.
“I am not saying it is not a great competition because everyone loves the fairytale but it is not even."
The Down boss is happy with another game at Pairc Esler, where they take on Kildare in Round Two of the All-Ireland Qualifiers on Saturday, July 12. The Lilywhites lost to Meath in Sunday's Leinster Championship semi-final.
McCartan feels that his Ulster Championship format would secure more games at home, which means that further income could be pumped into improving the ground such as Pairc Esler.
“This County ground went donkeys of years without getting a Championship draw and they can't get the money to do up the place and if we were to know that we are guaranteed at least one or two home Championship games a year then we know what income we would be making and spend it on the ground - so to me it is win, win, win," he said.

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