Having been the bane of manager’s lives for over a decade now; the six day turnaround between losing provincial finals and All-Ireland qualifiers is to become a thing of the past.
More than a dozen county teams have lost in the qualifiers six or seven days after losing a provincial final. Only Dublin in 2001 overcame a Leinster final defeat to Meath to beat Sligo seven days later. To expect a side to lift themselves so soon after a defeat is clearly unfair.
The GAA have now made plans to structure the provincial calendar with the qualifiers so as to remove the very short gap some counties face between matches and the very long gap others face.
As well as getting the provincial titles in synch, the proposal also suggests that one pre-Championship draw is held to determine what side of the qualifier draw you are on, setting out a clear roadmap for teams and ending the almost weekly qualifier draws.
The changes will also benefit the club game as county boards will be able to plan around the county’s fixtures. The 2014 Championship will be the first to see these changes.