GAA Presidential candidate Martin Skelly gives his view on the structure of the football championship

In part two of our interview with GAA Presidential candidate Martin Skelly ahead of the election at the end of February, he speaks to John Lynch about the ongoing issue involving Galway hurling and the structure of the football Championship

In 2009 the Galway Senior hurlers were introduced to the Leinster Championship.

Previously the Tribesmen would have started their championship in the qualifiers or being put straight through to an All-Ireland Semi or Quarter Final. However many people felt it was unfair on Galway that they did not have a provincial championship to compete and that when it came to All Ireland Quarter Finals or Semis that they would not be up to match pace.

While the Seniors may now be involved to compete for the Bob O’Keeffe cup the minor and U21 teams still have to wait till August for their first championship game and possible their only competitive match of the year.

Another issue for the men from the West is not having home advantage for any of the games in Leinster.

Galway are yet to stage a Leinster championship game and the county board have brought that to the GAA’s attention that they want change.

Martin Skelly has had a lot of involvement with the Galway board during his time as Leinster Chairman and he spoke about the arrangements that Galway had about home games before entering Leinster.

“At all times Galway were quite free and open, the door was open for Galway to enter in with home arrangements with Klkenny, Wexford, Offaly, etc.. and I know that it never happened and I’m not sure for the reason why it didn’t happen”

“Nobody ever stopped Galway from making that journey and progressing in that sense”

It has been an ongoing debate for the last number of year about Galway hurling and Martin will be hoping if elected he can bring a solution to the problem of the venues and their Minor and U21 teams. What Martin will also be looking at if elected id the current structure of the football championship.

The difference in standard between team has been evident to see for some time now in the Championship with a regular four or six teams competing each year for the Sam Maguire and Martin feels a change in the structure is needed for the development of the game.

“The challenge for the GAA is to sell a Championship that would be attractive for the likes of the Mickey Quinns of Longford for the players who will find it very difficult in their life time to win an All-Ireland or even play in an All-Ireland Quarter Final”

Martin feels it is up to the administrators at Croke Park level to come up with a Championship that is exciting and vibrant and that will appeal to the second tier counties.