DONEGAL manager Rory Gallagher believes the new ‘Super 8’ series will rid the All-Ireland quarter-finals of ‘dead duck’ ties.
Gallagher’s player, though, are not in favour of the changes that were voted through at the GAA’s annual Congress on Saturday at Croke Park.
From 2018, there will be two groups of four for the quarter-finals, after it was passed having garnered the support of 76 per cent of delegates.
Players have come out fighting, criticising the change, but Gallagher and the Dublin manager, Jim Gavin, were cautious in welcoming what are huge alterations to the GAA calendar.
“I personally think it is well worth the experiment,” Gallagher said.
“You have to try new things and to reinvigorate things. There is no doubt some of the quarter finals have been dead ducks.
“Funny our players were against it: they voted with the GPA against it. They just didn’t want it, but I feel that you want the best teams playing against each other as often as possible.
“I think if we got Dublin in a quarter final here (in Ballybofey) or Mayo or likewise us going there: I think it would be great for our supporters and very fair.”
One of the other big talking points was the moving of the All-Ireland senior football and hurling finals from their traditional September dates to August. The ‘First Sunday in September’ and ‘Third Sunday in September’ have been ingrained in the Irish lexicon, but from 2018 the GAA’s big days will move to August.
“I understand why,” Gallagher said.
“We are giving away some valuable marketing time but if it frees up club football we have to serve that as well.
“There will be a lot of debate about it but I personally would commend Paraic Duffy – he said it is not him that has brought this but a whole group of people. But I think it is worth experimenting.”
Frank McGlynn has been involved in eight All-Ireland quarter-finals in his time as a Donegal footballer.
“As a panel of players, we weren’t in favour of the Super 8,” McGlynn said.
“In our eyes it’s two extra games. If you’re defeated now in a quarter-final, the month of August frees up for club football.
“If you’re beaten now in the first round of a group, you could be gone, but you still have two extra games. It’ll be interesting to see how it will all fit in.”
Both the GPA and the newly-formed but as-yet-unrecognised CPA have both outlined their opposition to the proposals.
McGlynn said: “They’re making decisions on behalf of the players and on behalf of the whole GAA community, but if a consensus was taken there wouldn’t be too many in favour. It’s disappointing.”
McGlynn doesn’t get to play for his club, Glenfin, as much as he’d like to and it all boils down to a major problem with the calendar.
He said: “You end up missing a lot of club football. That’s just the way the fixtures go. I didn’t play a whole lot with the club last year at all. It’s all about the calendar and trying to fit it in, but you can’t be going out playing for the county on a Saturday and then going to play for the club on a Sunday.”