LONDON may be denied the right to compete in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship qualifiers if a GAA motion is passed at the Annual Congress in Carlow next month.
A proposal to restructure the Championship was given the green light to be discussed in depth during a meeting at GAA headquarters on Saturday, although it will not be enforced until 2017 if passed.
Designed to create more competitive games throughout the summer, the motion proposes Division 4 teams be omitted from the ‘back door’ system, unless they reach their respective provincial finals.
Failing that, the Division 4 teams will be placed into an All-Ireland Senior B Football Championship, which will be a straight knockout format, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the following year’s qualifiers, no matter where they finish in the National League.
However, if a Division 4 team does reach their provincial final, the lowest-placed team from Division 3 (not including the two relegated teams) will take their place in the ‘B’ Championship instead.
It would mean the qualifiers are reduced from four rounds to three, with 16 teams entering Round 1, and the last four standing will face the provincial winners in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
As well as London, Division 4 is made up of seven other counties, namely Antrim, Carlow, Leitrim, Louth, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.
The proposal also suggests any team outside Division 1 should automatically be given home advantage if they are drawn against a county from the top tier in the Championship qualifiers.
The motion will be put before delegates at Congress in February but will need a two-thirds majority when put to a vote.
New London senior football manager Ciaran Deely accepts that changes may be necessary in order to create more competitive Championship matches, but is unconvinced by the latest proposal.
“My own personal thoughts are that it could be beneficial to have some sort of ‘B’ competition so that lower down teams have a viable chance of success,” he told The Irish Post.
“But I don’t think it’s a great idea to limit it only to Division 4 teams, because then you’re only really replicating what we have in the National League if you’re just coming up against the other Division 4 teams again.
“If they were to come up with a better competition that included Division 3 and Division 4 teams it might create a little bit more interest.”
Meanwhile, Deely and his squad enjoyed a productive weekend in Ireland, despite suffering a friendly defeat to Dublin Under-21s.
“We had a training camp from Friday to Sunday and we played against Dublin Under-21s,” said Deely. “It finished up 2-14 to 0-15 to Dublin, but we were 0-12 to 1-06 up at half-time.
“It was a good weekend. We got plenty of training done, a game, plenty of meetings and team bonding exercises, so we’re really happy with how everything’s going so far.”