|Dublin||Ulster (East and West ?)|
|Leinster (North and South ?)||Britain|
|Munster (Old and New?)||Americas|
|ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONSHIP||WORLD GAMES|
|Dublin City||Belfast City|
|North Leinster||West Ulster|
|Waterford City||Middle East|
|Leitrim||Mannin (Isle of Man)|
About this Proposal
While there are 32 counties in Ireland ever since the shiring of Co. Wicklow, and a 32-County Championship is something die-hard Traditional GAA fans and players want never to change, it has become increasingly necessary for the GAA to change with the times and globalisation in recent years.
The need is three-fold. One increasing development in the Dublin Area and East Ulster means the counties along the Eastern Seaboard from Dublin to Belfast are experiencing a surge in population. This has been most noticable in Dublin’s dominance in the GAA Football Championship – winning an unprecedented 6-in-a-row last year.
Secondly with a large amount of immigration and interest from the Irish Diaspora abroad and non-Irish people from Argentina to the Arctic, Hawaii all the way back around to Russia and Japan, the need to promote the game beyond the traditional GAA community is more necessary than ever.
Added to this is the vast array of other sports and games and interests and hobbies for people to take up when young, which will make even more demands on the GAA’s traditional base.
With the Internet now available from Dublin to Clare, Kerry to Donegal, Eirball has become a fan of Scottish Shinty, Welsh Baseball (their Rounders), Breton and Galician Gaelic Football, Cornish Hurling and Manx Cammag, and feels that the time will come some day in the future when these forgotten Gaelic or Celtic Countries and Games are part of the wider GAA Community again.
New York and London compete in the GAA Championships, so one day why not the other Counties in Britain and around the World – while not official counties yet, Argentina, Caribbean, Mexico, Russia and Africa all have GAA Clubs and one day could have enough for full county status. The rest of the GAA Counties mentioned from around the World in this list already have GAA County status and considered equal with the 32 in Ireland in the GAA constitution. They already play in the British Provincial Championship and World Games, just not yet in the All-Ireland.
Which brings us to the new counties – GAA has been experimenting with new counties in Ireland in order to promote Hurling and Football in non-traditional areas: the counties of Fingal and South Down were created for this purpose, as was a Gaeltacht Football championship to promote Football in Gaelic-speaking areas.
If Professionalism is to come as some elite players and commentators in the media are asking how can it be done in order to prevent Dublin winning every single year: Eirball’s proposal is to make Dublin a province with 4 counties: Dublin City, Fingal, DLR and South Dublin, as is the case with the current civil blondaries. Add in UCD and Garda and it becomes a 6-county province.
Similarly, Ulster could become 12 counties if newer counties (boroughs) in Northern Ireland are recognised by the GAA, such as Causeway, Mourne and Belfast City. Munster could have a “New Munster” Province with Cork City, Limerick City, Waterford City, West Cork, An Gaeltacht (playing out of Dingle as HQ), and Hibernians Counties. Connemara could be added to Connacht and Kildare split into North and South and we have a balanced-schedule of 12 Provinces of 6 – 6 Provinces each in an All-Ireland and World Games halves, or Leinster, Connacht-Munster, Ulster (including Britain) and World Quarters.
This then could become the basis for an Inter-Provincial Championship with either 12 or 9 Provinces (whether to split Leinster, Ulster and Munster for this is probably unnessary, just necessary for a balanced schedule in the County Championship). A 9 team Inter-Provincial Series could be the Professional Championship Elite Players want: Dublin, Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Britain, America, Orient and Celtic.
Thanks to Dervla Mulcahy, Richard Mulcahy, Rose McCabe, Fiona Corrigan, Jillian Glynn, Caoimhe Mullaney, Roisin Ni Dhonnacha, Kate Hartnett, Rachel Croke, Lenka Mulligan, Decy Maher, Jason, Luke Kelly, Derek Walsh, Tom Dunne, Paul Croke, Gareth Hunt, and Michael O’Callaghan.
About this document
Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the
Eirball | North American / Irish North American and World Sports Archive
Last Updated: 5 July 2021
(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2021
You may quote this document in part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Reserved.