The Sun newspaper today reported that ‘Discussions’ are taking place about the possible introduction of a ‘third tier’ in the League of Ireland” and suggest top Intermediate sides could be invited to join.
By all accounts the FAI are worried about the difference in levels between the Under-19 league and senior football with concerns being expressed that players playing underage level are not LOI ready by the time they have outgrown youth football.
Reaction online to the news hasn’t be positive, indeed some have suggested the idea is laughable.
The exact details as to how a third tier would look have been given, but there are those who are pointing to the recent troubles of clubs like Bray Wanderers to suggest it’s a bad move.
One avenue being discussed is a third tier made up of some of Ireland’s top Intermediate sides and reserve sides from the League of Ireland.
The top end of Intermediate football is packed full of players with the talent to play LOI at present. Some argue the likes of UCC, Bluebell United, Mocthas, Crumlin United, Cobh Wanderers and so on could compete in Division 1 as is.
However, it has to be taken into account that some of that talent prefer to play top end amateur football in the locality as it provides them with a high end football fix, but does so without the massive training and travel commitments.
A number of players have also used the Intermediate and even Junior ranks as a place for rehabilitation dropping away from the spot light, finding form and spring-boarding back to the league and even further afield.
Questions would be asked with regard to promotion and relegation from a the third division. Presumably the reserve sides wouldn’t be allowed to go up meaning the Intermediate teams could secure promotion to Division 1. If that was to happen would they have the facilities and finances to be Division 1 worthy.
An interesting debate lies ahead, but it will be interesting to see what format the FAI have in mind.