Liam Sheedy excited by new Championship structure
By Cian O'Connell
As the new inter-county year edges closer, Liam Sheedy is excited about the prospect of the revamped 2018 Championship.
The round robin system guarantees more games and Sheedy is looking forward to seeing how the action unfolds.
"It’s new, it’s a change," Sheedy says. "Everyone is sitting here not knowing what to expect. The vote has been cast; the change has gone through. I think there’s a lot of positives out of it.
"You had to retain the provincial championships. When you see what it meant to Cork this year when they won the Munster Championship. Can you imagine if Wexford had won Leinster. Seeing teams like that winning provincials championships is still really, really important.
"In terms of getting to see your local heroes, two home games is a big one. Take Galway. That’s another plus."
Sheedy doesn't feel that the importance of the Munster and Leinster Championship will be diluted.
"Waterford lost out on a Munster Championship last year and came back and went all the way to an All-Ireland final – I don’t think it diluted the Munster final the fact that Cork and Clare were there, that Waterford and Tipp were sent packing," Sheedy responds. "That’s the beauty of the championship.
"You’re talking about the end of May, early June – if you had a choice you’d probably have them a bit later, but because you’re trying to protect the provincial championship, that’s what you’re facing. There are pros and cons."
Sheedy also praised GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Páraic Duffy for his work. "I’ve been lucky enough to see Paraic work up close through the Hurling 2020 and sitting on management – he’s one of the best administrators I’ve ever seen," Sheedy states.
"He’s top class. What he’s done for the game. On the pitch off the pitch. Very open to change. Very strong on the amateur ethos and protecting that. His values are very similar to what the GAA stand for.
"He’s done a fantastic job because it’s a big organisation. Everybody has a view. It’s not an easy job to do. He’s carried the mantle really well over the last 10 years.
"I’ve seen the hours he has put in. I think he’s left a really good legacy."
Sheedy reckons that Pat Gilroy's appointment as Dublin manager will boost the game in the capital too.
"It’s a superb appointment," is Sheedy's assessment. "From someone who has been involved in the situation, ultimately it’s about managing people. And Pat Gilroy is excellent in that respect. His credibility, his pedigree for managing people in a business and sporting context is superb.
"This is about managing the whole orchestra – the backroom team, the players. I think he’s an outstanding appointment.
"Dublin are probably the team with the most potential to improve in 2018. For whatever reason, they haven’t bought in. I think they’ll buy in under Pat. I think they will be thinking, “that’s something I’d like to be a part of.”
"I was a bit frustrated with 2017 because I know the work put in under Anthony (Daly) to make Dublin what they were. The early days under Ger (Cunningham) were very promising but for whatever reason it just broke. There is a chance to turn over a new leaf. And no better man.
"Having someone born and bred Dublin, loves Dublin, has a pedigree of winning an All-Ireland – if I was sitting at home wondering about buying in, I’d be gone straight in. I think you’ll see a bounce.
"It will be good for the game, good for the Leinster Championship to have Dublin back. Seeing them in action down in Thurles this year, it was hard to look at. Really hard to look at. They have scope to improve. Excellent appointment."