Championship to start in early summer next year?

The policy of commencing the club championships only after the county senior team have been eliminated from the championship could be about to come to an end. Convention decreed that the clubs will decide.

The annual report to county convention issued by county secretary Dominic McCaughey has stated that the experiment has only added to fixture problems rather than help remedy them.

McCaughey wrote: “The trial, undertaken during the past two seasons, of not commencing the adult football championships until the senior county team has been eliminated from the All-Ireland series has been clearly shown to add to fixtures’ difficulties rather than reducing them.

“There has been a detrimental effect on the Reserve Knockout competition and the U21 competition in football, neither of which could be accommodated with summer football; also, by squeezing the football championships into an eight-week timeframe in the autumn, serious and unfair demands are being placed on club grounds that can host night-time fixtures, the match officials, gate officials and the stewards, the patrons who want to attend and support their teams and our games, the PR section that is attempting to publicise and promote the games and the winning teams whose players do not get sufficient time to recover and prepare for the next fixture.

“Now, it would be appropriate to revert to commencing the adult football championships at the start of the summer”

Tyrone CCC chairperson, Roisin Jordan in her report to the convention outlined the fixture situation that arose this year.

Jordan’s report stated: “In planning these fixtures we had to take into consideration the fixtures for Mc Kenna Cup, NFL and Ulster Championship for Seniors, U21’s and Minors we also had to fit in Dev Squads training and games for both football and hurling.

“Whilst we start off with a good plan unfortunately things come up against us that we have to look at the plan and make changes this year has been no exception. Only 11 league rounds were played before the holiday break 8th July this year leaving 4 league rounds to be fitted along with the Championship after the holiday period.

“The start of the league was held up due the involvement of our County U21’s in Ulster Final and our County Seniors reaching the NFL Final Div 2 which left we only got 2 games in April. 4 rounds were played in May and in June 3 rounds with a further 2 rounds in July.

“Championships starting at the end of July the CCC had to compile these fixtures into a very tight timeframe and trying to allow 2 weeks for the county finalist to prepare for their first round of Ulster Clubs and also try and fit League in the middle of these fixtures has not been easy.

“When the CCC met the clubs in June we had agreed that the last 2 league games would be played at the same time. But unfortunately it still did not stop clubs fielding under strength teams or not fielding at all.

“It’s the clubs in relegation that this has the biggest impact on. With Championship played in August CCC cannot play Res Championship until the first round is over this is having a big impact on clubs not fielding for their reserve league.

“While writing this report Div 1 League is at playoff stage Coalisland are already through to the final waiting on Errigal Ciaran and Clonoe. U21’s are only starting 17th November this is one group that needs to be seriously looked at for next year.”