‘Proposal B’ has been warmly greeted from most GAA stakeholders this week.
The proposal by the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) would lead to a new look intercounty season with increased games and teams on a similar level facing off more than under the current provincial system.
As one of the best players in the country for a large spell of his intercounty career with a small county such as Laois, few are more qualified to speak about wholesale change for intercounty players than Colm Begley.
The GPA’s Player Engagement Manager explained to Scoreline why the changes should be seen as positive news for all stakeholders in the GAA.
“It gives everyone the chance to play in the Sam Maguire while also having the chance of the Tailteann Cup, so it provides championship games for teams at their own level.
“It allows teams to play more competitive games and also develops the game because there will be more fixtures throughout the summer,” Begley said.
The former AFL star explained why now is the right time for serious alterations to be made to the league and championship formats.
He added: “Change has been called on for the last while and there needs to be change. Key stakeholders have discussed what needs to happen for five years or more.
“The game and training ratio is very unbalanced, and we want to provide players to represent themselves and their county in a better way than they have so before.”
35-year-old Begley believes that linking league performance with the championship will help to provide an even playing field for teams at all levels.
“Ulster is the only remaining province with a real competitive edge.
“So, it is better to link the league to the Sam Maguire and Tailteann Cup because it allows for a fairer system rather than the same teams going through all of the time.”
One of Laois’ greatest ever players and second in the list of all-time appearances in a blue and white jersey, midfield powerhouse Begley is of the opinion that an increase in both quality and quantity of games will on go to serve the best interests of intercounty players up and down the country.
“We need more championship games to improve teams and help them reach a higher level.
“The gap at the moment between the top teams and the rest is too big and this new proposal will undoubtedly see smaller counties get closer to the so-called bigger counties,” outlined Stradbally clubman Begley.
Begley also believes the new proposal will be for the betterment of supporters of every county.
“We’re providing games for supporters that are more competitive and balanced. This mitigates and reduces the chances of mismatches happening so it will be better for every stakeholder in the GAA.
“It will help breathe new life into the intercounty season and give more games to players and supporters alike.”
You can find out what the 2022 season would look like under the new proposals by watching this video.