So, it’s the start of a new decade and it is fair to say that there has been so many changes within the GAA since 2010, especially in football. The arrival of Jim McGuinness in Donegal brought the tactical side of the game to a new level. Some didn’t see this as a positive change, but change is inevitable. And there will be more of it over the next ten years. We take out the crystal ball and predict what will happen in the next ten years.

1 – Dublin will continue to dominate

Jim Gavin stepping away from Dublin will have an effect. He is a brilliant manager. But it won’t destabilise them enough to the extent that they won’t be favourites every year for the Sam Maguire. With the coaching structure within the county and the number of top quality paid coaches working between schools and clubs, aligned with the financial clout Dublin have and the fact that their players are all home based will mean Dublin will win at least seven of the 10 All Ireland titles on offer.

2 – Mid ranking teams will fall further behind

The introduction of the tiered championship will have a devastating effect on the competitiveness of mid ranking teams. Teams who slip into division three for a couple of seasons and who then gain promotion to division two will find that the gulf has widened significantly while they were gone.

Players won’t want to play in a second tier which will mean managers will find it hard to motivate players to the same level of preparation and dedication. All this will lead to standards slowly dropping over time in those counties. Currently each year there are four teams who separate themselves at the top. After that the next 16 are fairly evenly matched with any division two or top half division three team believing they can win against a division one side outside of the top four. That will be gone.

Far from addressing the gap that exists at present the tiered championship will only create more gaps and more discernible tiers. The tiered championship will do precisely the opposite to what those advocates for it say it will achieve.

3 – Inter county careers will shorten in majority of counties

This is linked to point two. Players won’t play as long outside the top four or five counties. This will be especially true of players who more often than not compete in the second tier. The inter county season is too long and players will simply not see the benefits of the commitment that is needed.

Before, it was with a heavy heart that an inter county player retired, perhaps realising that age or loss or form meant the inevitable time had come. Now players will make that decision while still good enough to be effective and contribute. This will have a severely negative effect on counties with small picks.

4 – More inter county players will opt to play club

The club game is becoming more professional in terms of how teams prepare and inter county players are seeing this; after all they are club players too. Many are also seeing that with each passing year they are spending, through no fault of their own, less and less time with their clubs.

To this end there will come a tipping point, where players will decide that they want to commit fully to their club instead of to their county. This will especially be true for players who see that their clubs have the chance of winning silverware.

5 – Every county will have professional CEOs

We have seen county after county embroil themselves in controversy, whether it be in terms of financial mismanagement or simply a cluelessness when it comes to dealing with the media. Whatever the case it has become clear that with the money that is involved in the game and the professionalism that is expected from county boards the time for professional chief executives is here.

Many counties already have them, and guess what? There is no controversy in those counties.

6 – The season will not change in length

The GAA had an opportunity over the past year to really address the debacle that is the fixtures calendar. They even set up a fixtures group to look at it. The Club Players Association sat on that group but left before the final options were put forward, citing frustration at the process.

It is telling that the one solution that was discussed but which did not make the cut as one of the final options was the splitting of the two seasons which would have meant the inter county and club games running separately and not side by side as they do now.

This is the only solution to stop the drain of players from the inter county game and give the club game the respect and prominence it deserves. But it was not allowed to go forward.

Those that run our game are determined to keep the inter county season at its current ridiculous length, with some teams playing 10 competitive games in a nine-month season when preseason is taken into consideration.

7 – More rule changes will happen in football

The forward mark will lead to two things. One is that sweepers will drop deeper and the long ball into the full forward, as envisaged, won’t materialise as often as people thought. The second change will be that teams will now look for twenty-yard diagonal passes into space 10 to 15 yards inside the opposition 50.

All this will lead to more tinkering as we seem to be hell bent on creating a game where the skill of high catching is awarded above all others.

8 – One underage inter county age group

The under 20 competition is not working at present and players are getting stretched too thinly across a range of teams and age groups. Under 17 and under 20 will be scrapped and a new under 19 championship will replace them.

And I think it will be a positive step. At present too many under 20 players are double jobbing with both the under 20 team and the county senior team. This does nothing to aid their development as individuals and it means that many under 20 squads have no chance of properly preparing for their championship because the management don’t have access to all of their best players for training, which is essential in today’s game.

“There will come a tipping point, where players will decide that they want to commit fully to their club instead of to their county. This will especially be true for players who see that their clubs have the chance of winning silverware.