Survival of the fittest in the GAA's new normal

DARWIN may have had the animal kingdom in mind when he expounded on his survival of the fittest theory, which was more to do with biological reproduction.

But it could be equally applied to the GAA and to this year’s inter-county championship when it finally gets up and running.

It has already been a strange year but it is likely to get even stranger, with the 2020 All-Ireland football championship heading for a straight knockout, just like the good old days, and we could end up playing the final on Christmas Day – well maybe not quite, but close enough to it.

Anything can happen, and I mean anything, when you get just the one bite of the cherry.

Dublin are certainly in danger of being knocked off their perch as they bid for that historic six-in-a-row, while Mayo now have a great chance of finally removing that monkey off the back, a monkey that grows bigger and bigger as the years roll by, by winning the All-Ireland and saying goodbye to what is becoming the curse of the curse of the curse...

Of course, it could also see Mayo being beaten in the first round of the Connaught championship by Leitrim and that is why I return to our good friend Charles Darwin, whose theory on survival of the fittest could come into play with a lot of teams.

John Maughan was recognised as one of the top managers when it came to whipping teams into shape; he would have been just the man for the job on those Roman battle ships.

Not the guy that was beating the drum as the crescendo increased as the ships headed for battle but the bloke going around with the whip beating the daylights out of the slaves as he demanded more muscle on the oars - and I expect this is the kind of championship which could suit Maughan’s emphasis on physicality and stamina.

Any lack of same could see some of the top teams caught out so it will be an interesting championship for sure and one that gives a lot of teams a chance of causing an upset in the early rounds in particular, just like it used to before some genius decided to fling open the back door. There were no issues back then with club versus county loyalties.

* Photo: Mayo could be in the driving seat if, as expected, Jason Doherty returns from injury in time for the inter-county championship later in the year. PHOTO: SPORTSFILE

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