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Coulter fires an All-Ireland salvo as Clarke eyes New York bonus


by john campbell ·

Big test: Armagh ace Jamie Clarke can fire up New York

Former Down ace Benny Coulter is urging the GAA authorities to alter the entire structure of the All-Ireland championship but Armagh exile Jamie Clarke, in contrast, can hardly wait for the action to begin.

In a straight from the shoulder broadside, Coulter labels the existing format "so unfair it's actually laughable".

The Mayobridge clubman, who gave sterling service to his county for many years, believes the time is ripe for a major shake-up rather than what he feels is the recent tampering with the flagship competition.

"I think the most recent innovation relating to teams not having to play in the preliminary round of the Ulster series for two years after they have been drawn at that stage of the competition from 2020 onwards is a great rule," Coulter said.

"However, I still can't get my head around why the GAA won't change up the whole structure of the championship.

"It is so unfair it's laughable. For example, for Donegal to make the Super 8s through the front door they would have to beat Cavan, Derry, Down and possibly Tyrone in the Ulster final, whereas Roscommon would have to beat Leitrim and potentially Mayo in the Connacht final."

"Kerry will also have a lovely route against two Division Two teams to get to the Super 8s - I ask you!"

But while Coulter cannot disguise his disgust at what he feels is an unbalanced competition, Jamie Clarke is relishing the prospect of lining out for New York against Leitrim in the Connacht championship opener on Sunday.

The former Armagh captain was named man of the match following New York's 1-20 to 1-7 challenge match win over All-Ireland club champions Corofin at Gaelic Park last Thursday.

Clarke's form is one of the main reasons why New York are hopeful that they will gain their first-ever win in the Connacht series.

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Big test: Armagh ace Jamie Clarke can fire up New York