Are the importance of the Divisional final being over stated?
In Senior & Premier Intermediate none of the Divisional winners made it to the semi finals. Brackens, Clonoulty & Nenagh all went out at Preliminary Quarter or quarter final stage, in Premier Intermediate, where all 4 divisional winners were in one group, the four of them were out of the championship by Quarter final stage.
Kiladangan & Roscrea both played in divisional finals while Drom were the only other divisional finalist to get to a semi final.
In intermediate it doesn’t make for better reading, only 1 divisional winner has made it to the semi finals. Drom played in the mid final but there was only 2 teams in the mid championship. Boherlahan winning comfortable enough in that decider. Skeheenarinky didn’t even play their divisional championship and one wonders whether they should be even allowed to compete if the rules were followed correctly. Moneygall the 4th Semi-Finalalist were comprehensively beaten in the North where they started without a number of players due to injury and travel.
The Divisional championships have lost their lustre for the majority of clubs. Now I can hear the Brackens lads chirping and how the church lads would love a mid medal, of course they would, but in the bigger scheme of things winning a division does nothing to enhance your chances of winning a county title. Carrick Swan won the south Senior title this year and very nearly ended up playing 3rd tier Hurling in 2023 failing to win a game between the south final and the relegation decider.
The added weekend for Preliminary Quarter finals further complicates things. While I’m sure Clonoulty/Rossmore were delighted to win their preliminary game against Thurles, they ultimately failed to qualify from their group and were beaten quarter finalists. Nenagh qualified from the group and were beaten Preliminary Quarter-Finalists falling to JK Brackens who also failed to Qualify for the knockouts and were dumped out at quarter final stage. In Premier Intermediate, Clonakenny and the aforementioned Carrick Swan failed at preliminary stage while Cashel & Portroe didn’t get passed the Quarter finals.
At intermediate level, Kilsheelan were drawn by mid winners Boherlahan, who had failed to qualify, Kilsheelan prevailed after penalties but went out at quarter final stage to Moneygall, Kickhams also didn’t qualify from their group but overcame Cappawhite in the preliminary only to bow out also at quarter final stage. That just leaves Lorrha as the sole divisional winner still standing and they need extra time to overcome Borrisokane in their Quarter final.
The Divisional system served a purpose at one stage but not anymore. It is a hindrance to clubs with County ambitions. Clubs will say they enjoy playing them but in reality don’t really give them the respect they deserve.
It’s time to cut ties and have a stand alone County Championship. The farcical nature of the South & West Championships in 2023 with only one Dan Breen representative in each division. If the West follow the south mantra then you could have the situation next year where the Divisional winners of the Premier competition in the South and West cannot compete for Dan Breen and that to me is a compete waste of everyone’s time.