In late February the GAA passed its first major structural change to the summer championship since the introduction of the qualifiers in 2001. Much the same as the 2001 motion the concept of the “Super 8” was passed by congress with overwhelming majority vote. Congress even changed the percentage needed to receive a majority decision down from 66% to 60%. However there was no need as the “Super 8” received a staggering 76% yes vote from congress. This change in structure will split the eight quarter finalists into two round robin groups of four teams, with each team playing at home, away and one game at Croke Park. With the top two teams from each group meeting each other in the semi finals stage. This change in format is widely accepted to be a good system to bring into place as it will allow the championship to potentially to get stronger and stronger. The concerning aspect of this new championship format however is that it brought in to help club players and club championships all around the country. Yet everyone is struggling to see exactly how that is going to happen.
Club players train week in week out for nearly twelve months a year and this new championship will mean that there are two extra games for inter county sides, thus further delaying the club championships to take place. Club footballers are will still have to continue the hard slog to keep fit for championship without the added benefits like time off work, nutritionists and other specialists that inter county players are afforded. One of the more concerning aspects of this motion was that of the 56 delegates that voted against the “Super 8” only two representatives took to the floor to speak about their concerns with this new format. With neither having a sufficient alternative idea to restructure the championship of their own. With extra football games now scheduled for the summer it’s profile will only increase over the next number of years especially with Sky Sports continuing their GAA coverage across the Irish Sea. It is only natural that hurling commentators such as Brendan Cummins are concerned about their sports profile diminishing over the next number of years. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the “Super 8” introduced into next years hurling championship if it proves to be successful this coming summer.