FORMER Antrim star Kevin Brady has cautiously welcomed the idea of a possible All-Ireland Intermediate Football Championship, which has been strongly pushed by the Club Players’ Association.
Brady, who captained the Saffrons to the Tommy Murphy Cup title in 2008, says a de facto ‘B’ championship is a plausible concept, but only with the right promotion from the GAA.
The CPA released the results of a survey of almost 4000 of its members this week, which revealed that 71% of respondents favoured a tiered All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.
The Tommy Murphy Cup, which featured senior county teams eliminated from the early stages of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, failed to grab the public attention.
St Mary’s Magherafelt coach Brady says that doesn’t mean a ‘tiered’ championship is without merit, even though he recognises its difficulties.
He said: “I had the experience of captaining Antrim to winning the Tommy Murphy Cup. At the time there were a few Antrim players who pulled out of the squad when we were knocked out of the All-Ireland series.
“I get the impression that even within counties like Antrim that don’t have realistic goals of playing in Croke Park in the third Sunday in September, that they still wanted to be in the main All-Ireland series.”
“I think it’s an okay idea if it’s promoted properly, and if it’s a meaningful competition with status. Maybe there has been a realisation now in the last ten years that there are only a handful of teams that are capable of winning the All-Ireland.”
The Saffrons won the Tommy Murphy Cup in its final year before it was scrapped in 2008. Brady says it’s still a memory worth cherishing, however.
“You had people calling it the ‘Tommy Cooper’ cup but I still have the pictures up on the wall at home and I’m still proud to have lifted a trophy in Croke Park. In the preceding years the likes of Declan Browne lifted it for Tipperary and if it’s good enough for him it’s good enough for me.”