BY CHRIS MCNULTY
THE group format for the Donegal Senior Football Championship will remain in place regardless of Donegal’s progress in the All-Ireland SFC, it has been confirmed.
At Monday night’s sitting of the county committee, fixtures and their scheduling again took up a fair portion of time.
Glenswilly’s delegate, Barry McDaid, and the St Michael’s representative, Liam McElhinney, both wondered about the format of the Donegal SFC. McDaid asked if there had been consideration given to moving the senior championship to an open draw format. Both he and McElhinney asked if it was possible for the Championship to be finished in time to allow the 2014 county champions take their place in the Ulster Club Championship.
“We have our fixtures programme sent to Ulster and the groups are staying,” Donegal Competitions Controls Committee secretary, Sean McGinley, said.
“We discussed this on March 19 and there is a programme for three scenarios, with Donegal exiting at All-Ireland quarter-final, semi-final and final stages.”
Cloughaneely delegate Joe McGarvey asked about the possible start date for the Under-21 Championship. Denis Ellis, the CCC Chairman, said it was pencilled in to start on August 12. “Yes, regardless of results,” Mr Ellis responded to a query from the Ardara delegate, Mary Kelly.
Convoy’s Oliver Prunty questioned the scheduling of the minor championship next week. A round of games in the Northern Board Minor Championship is to take place on Monday with the Southern Board version getting underway on Tuesday. County Chairman Sean Dunnion said the August Bank Holiday week was not a closed week for underage football.
The next round of All-County Football League games are down for the weekend of August 17th. These, Mr Ellis said, will be in Divisions 1 and 2 as well as ‘catch up’ games in Division 3.
The third division has become problematic of late. With Red Hughs and Urris playing in the Junior Championship, making fixtures for the Division has been difficult for the CCC. Red Hughs are lagging behind on League games played, having just ten games played in contrast to the fifteen played by Aodh Ruadh, Ballyshannon.
“We are now trying to catch up the teams who have fallen behind,” Sean McGinley said.
Mr Ellis added: “We don’t want teams finished and others left with games to play. It is unfortunate that all teams in Division 3 aren’t in the same Championship.”
Clubs have expressed their dismay on the schedule, however.
“We have clubs being parked up because we have played fifteen games and others have only ten played,” Aodh Ruadh delegate Diarmaid Keon said.
“We are parked without football now. It isn’t fair on clubs and it isn’t fair on players. The situation needs to be addressed.
“We have had no football for three or four weeks and now we will have no football for another three or four weeks.”
Naomh Colmcille’s Kieran Friel hit out after claiming that his club wasn’t granted a free weekend on the occasion of a player’s wedding. They arrived for a game against Buncrana on July 13th, along with the appointed referee, but Buncrana didn’t field. This matter is to be dealt with by the CCC at its next meeting.
Mr Friel said: “These players are all amateurs. Surely we should be fit to let them know a couple of weeks in advance if they’re going to be playing or not. A little bit of clarity would go a long way.”
Cormac McGarvey (Naomh Muire) concurred with the Newtown man. He said: “At the last meeting the fixtures secretary said that no games would be called off yet we found out on a Thursday that our game against St Naul’s for that weekend was off.
“We had three lads who had tickets to see the Arctic Monkeys and they sold the tickets because they thought that we had a game only for the game to be called off. They are amateur players and should be messed around like that.”
However, McGinley explained: “I agreed to St Naul’s request because of players going away in holiday. The CCC decided to put down star fixtures for Divisions 1 and 2 for that weekend and I completely forgot about the permission I’d given to St Naul’s. When I made them aware of it, the CCC made the decision to postpone the games.”
Scenario 1 – Donegal exit at All-Ireland quarter-final stage
August 24th – Round 1 Senior championship
September 7th Round 2 senior championship
September 14th Round 3 senior championship
September 28th Senior championship quarter-final
October 5th Senior championship semi-final
October 19th Senior championship final
Scenario 2 – Donegal exit at All-Ireland semi-final stage
September 7th Round 1 senior championship
September 14th Round 2 senior championship
September 28th Round 3 senior championship
October 5th Senior championship quarter-final
October 12th Senior championship semi-final
October 26th Senior championship final
Scenario 3 – Donegal reach All-Ireland final
September 28th Round 1 senior championship
October 5th Round 2 senior championship
October 12th Round 3 senior championship
October 19th Senior championship quarter-final
October 26th Senior championship semi-final
November 2nd Senior championship final
Posted: 9:00 pm July 31, 2014