Donegal Forum

Should We Continue To Keep The ACL And Championships Separate When It Comes To Promotion/Relegation?

(Oldest Posts First)

I'm just wondering what peoples thoughts are on the All-County League and the Championships being treated as two completely separate competitions when it comes to promotion and relegation? With the present system. a club could be in Division 1 of the ACL but play in the JFC. Likewise, a club playing in Division 4 of the ACL could end up playing in the SFC. Whilst I can't think of any Division 4 or Division 1 clubs who have done this, there are some examples of Division 1 Clubs playing in the IFC, Division 2 clubs playing in the JFC and Division 3 clubs playing in the SFC in recent years:

• Buncrana (who played in Division 2 of the ACL this year) dished out hammerings to Na Rossa (17 point win), Lifford (27 point win) and Carndonagh (18 point win) in the group stages of this years JFC (all Division 4 clubs - who had competitive games against each other in the JFC). Lifford would be one of the weaker Junior clubs, but both Na Rossa and Carndonagh would be considered amongst the stronger teams in the JFC, yet both still suffered heavy defeats to
Buncrana.
• Convoy (who have just secured promotion to Division 2 of the ACL) are also competing in this years JFC - albeit their games in the JFC group stages were much more competitive.
• If I recall correctly, Downings played in the JFC a few years ago whilst playing in Division 2 of the ACL - and may even have won the competition that year it if I recall correctly.
• Cloghaneely (who played in Division 1 of the ACL this year) defeated Naomh Ultan in the IFC group stages this year on a scoreline of 1-14 to 1-02. Naomh Ultan competed in Division 3 of the ACL this year.
• Aodh Ruadh (who played in Division 2 of the ACL this year) defeated Downings in the IFC group stages this year on a scoreline of 3-21 to 0-07. Aodh Ruadh finished third in Division 2 whilst Downings won Division 3.
• Malin - who are currently in Division 3 of the ACL - competed in this years SFC. They lost all three group games, including a 3-16 to 0-07 defeat to Kilcar.
• Burt played in the SFC a few years ago despite only playing in Division 3 of the ACL at the time - but are currently in the Relegation play-offs in the IFC.
• Milford played in Division 4 of the ACL not too long ago, as well as the JFC and now compete in Division 1 and the SFC. In theory, had they not won those JFC and IFC titles, they would still be competing in the JFC.

Personally, I feel that the current system of both competitions being treated separately has lead to too many uncompetitive games in the Championship as clubs competing at a higher level in the ACL obviously have an advantage of facing better teams in the league in preparation for the Championship in comparison to opponents playing in a lower Division (just as is it does at Intercounty level) - Buncrana being the prime example this year. Between Na Rossa, Lifford and Carndonagh - they scored a combined total of 1-10 against Buncrana - who themselves scored a total of 6-58 (an average of 2-19 per game). On the flip side of this, I know it could be argued that the current system has resulted in Donegal clubs doing very well in the Ulster Club Championships in recent years as Urris, Red Hughs and Naomh Colmcille all reached finals of the Ulster JFC competition.

In Donegal, we currently have four divisions in the ACL (five technically but there is no promotion/relegation between Division 4 and Division 5) and three levels of Championship football - so this will continue to be an issue in my opinion so long as the two competitions are treated separately.

Personally, I would be in favour of implementing a league and championship system similar to that in Co. Tyrone to level the playing field: all Division 1 clubs play in the SFC, all Division 2 clubs play in the IFC and all Division 3 clubs play in the JFC. The League winners and Championship winners are promoted to a higher division and a higher championship grade for the following season with the team finishing last in the league automatically relegated to the league and championship competition below for the following season, with the second last team in the upper division and the 'runner-up' in the lower-division facing each other in a promotion/relegation play-off. This would result in two teams being promoted/relegated each year - with the potential for a third based on the result of the promotion/relegation play-off game.

There are 39 football clubs in Donegal so that could be three divisions of 13 clubs, - but I would imagine 16 Senior Clubs/16 Intermediate Clubs/7 Junior Clubs would be the more likely option. This would see Senior and Intermediate clubs play each other once in the league (15 games per team) and would ensure four groups of four in the championship (3 games per club) - so each club would have at least 18 games per season (personally, I prefer the 'traditional' straight knock-out system of Championship football myself but that's a separate discussion to this).

Obviously the 16/16/7 approach would result in only 6 league games for each Junior club but Home and Away games could obviously be used here to increase the number of league games to 12 - or there could even be an argument about including those clubs that currently compete in the Division 5/Senior C competitions in with the Junior clubs (Errigal Ciaran's Third Team competes in Division 3 in Tyrone). Most of these teams competed in the Junior B Championship previously and did so with great success.

I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on this? Do people feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed? And if so, what are your thoughts on the proposed system?

hashtag (Donegal) - Posts: 33 - 27/09/2019 11:37:33    2239596

Link

Personally, I do not agree!

The championships since they have been separated and the introduction of the group stages have kicked life back into championship football in Donegal...

Teams will always target league or championship or both, i was at the relegation playoff last year between Na Dunaibh and Buncrana and Buncrana were deservedly relegated. Its up to everyone else to close the gap!

beidhmeanseo (Donegal) - Posts: 69 - 27/09/2019 12:10:55    2239608

Link

I'm not sure I'd agree either. The leagues in themselves seem to be taken importantly and is something to celebrate separately. Winning a championship is something to earn and then celebrate and getting promoted through a league is just quite the same. The junior championship in donegal has been decent the last few years and the fact the both the last two winners also won ulster probably indicates an improvement in standard. Although Buncrana are probably favorites the likes of moville, urris, convoy, letterkenny gaels are decent teams so it should be competitive at the end of the competition. It might be a little unfair on the really small clubs but iike pettigo did at one point they can drop to junior b. For the most part though it's up to the less successful teams to up their game.

If you were to do something you might consider reducing senior championship to 12 maybe even 10, maybe have intermediates at 16 and the rest junior. The teams at the bottom level of the senior ranks are much closer in level to the intermediate clubs than they are to the top teams in the senior championship. I doubt clubs would vote for this but it probably would give rise to better competitions.

Ulsterchamps_32 (Donegal) - Posts: 220 - 27/09/2019 22:59:59    2239760

Link

Hashtag, this is a very well written post and clearly there has been a lot of thought put into it. It's always worth examining our systems and structures to see if things can be improved. However I don't agree with you on this occasion and feel as if the current separation between league and championship is very beneficial to club football and footballers for a few reasons.

In my opinion the separation allows for a competitive season where players receive a regular schedule of games, the vast majority of which are pitched at an appropriate level. It allows for an actual off-season as opposed to the rambling seasons elsewhere where the players are expected to maintain their high commitment levels for unsustainable periods and through unreliable fixtures and calendars. The advantage in preparations of playing at a higher level throughout the league can also be read as an excellent incentive for league campaigns and an encouragement for teams to plan for seasons rather than seachtainí. The tournaments are separate, well run, have their own momentum and worth celebrating individually.

The crux of the argument may be that teams are at times 'stuck' at a level which is too high / low for them.. But the wind changes very quickly for teams in Donegal. There are also certain clubs who can perform for short periods (Championship) at levels that they fail to sustain for longer periods for reasons only slightly related to football and more related to access to players. There clubs could just as easily find themselves playing at an inappropriate level come championship time under the system proposed.

I'm definitely willing to concede that there are some mismatches under the current format but I don't feel that the number is disproportionate to elsewhere. The fixtures committee have done an excellent job in recent years in reorganizing Donegal football and the positives outweigh the negatives imo.

Goitse (Donegal) - Posts: 41 - 28/09/2019 16:31:19    2239846

Link

Replying To Goitse:  "Hashtag, this is a very well written post and clearly there has been a lot of thought put into it. It's always worth examining our systems and structures to see if things can be improved. However I don't agree with you on this occasion and feel as if the current separation between league and championship is very beneficial to club football and footballers for a few reasons.

In my opinion the separation allows for a competitive season where players receive a regular schedule of games, the vast majority of which are pitched at an appropriate level. It allows for an actual off-season as opposed to the rambling seasons elsewhere where the players are expected to maintain their high commitment levels for unsustainable periods and through unreliable fixtures and calendars. The advantage in preparations of playing at a higher level throughout the league can also be read as an excellent incentive for league campaigns and an encouragement for teams to plan for seasons rather than seachtainí. The tournaments are separate, well run, have their own momentum and worth celebrating individually.

The crux of the argument may be that teams are at times 'stuck' at a level which is too high / low for them.. But the wind changes very quickly for teams in Donegal. There are also certain clubs who can perform for short periods (Championship) at levels that they fail to sustain for longer periods for reasons only slightly related to football and more related to access to players. There clubs could just as easily find themselves playing at an inappropriate level come championship time under the system proposed.

I'm definitely willing to concede that there are some mismatches under the current format but I don't feel that the number is disproportionate to elsewhere. The fixtures committee have done an excellent job in recent years in reorganizing Donegal football and the positives outweigh the negatives imo."
Like the excellent job they have done with the intermediate championship semi final/final fixtures, showing absolute contempt for club players.

totalrecall (Leitrim) - Posts: 461 - 08/10/2019 08:31:13    2241970

Link

Replying To totalrecall:  "Like the excellent job they have done with the intermediate championship semi final/final fixtures, showing absolute contempt for club players."
Absolutely. Real lack of common sense and leaves a sour taste

panamasam (Australia) - Posts: 2168 - 08/10/2019 11:40:51    2242019

Link

Replying To hashtag:  "I'm just wondering what peoples thoughts are on the All-County League and the Championships being treated as two completely separate competitions when it comes to promotion and relegation? With the present system. a club could be in Division 1 of the ACL but play in the JFC. Likewise, a club playing in Division 4 of the ACL could end up playing in the SFC. Whilst I can't think of any Division 4 or Division 1 clubs who have done this, there are some examples of Division 1 Clubs playing in the IFC, Division 2 clubs playing in the JFC and Division 3 clubs playing in the SFC in recent years:

• Buncrana (who played in Division 2 of the ACL this year) dished out hammerings to Na Rossa (17 point win), Lifford (27 point win) and Carndonagh (18 point win) in the group stages of this years JFC (all Division 4 clubs - who had competitive games against each other in the JFC). Lifford would be one of the weaker Junior clubs, but both Na Rossa and Carndonagh would be considered amongst the stronger teams in the JFC, yet both still suffered heavy defeats to
Buncrana.
• Convoy (who have just secured promotion to Division 2 of the ACL) are also competing in this years JFC - albeit their games in the JFC group stages were much more competitive.
• If I recall correctly, Downings played in the JFC a few years ago whilst playing in Division 2 of the ACL - and may even have won the competition that year it if I recall correctly.
• Cloghaneely (who played in Division 1 of the ACL this year) defeated Naomh Ultan in the IFC group stages this year on a scoreline of 1-14 to 1-02. Naomh Ultan competed in Division 3 of the ACL this year.
• Aodh Ruadh (who played in Division 2 of the ACL this year) defeated Downings in the IFC group stages this year on a scoreline of 3-21 to 0-07. Aodh Ruadh finished third in Division 2 whilst Downings won Division 3.
• Malin - who are currently in Division 3 of the ACL - competed in this years SFC. They lost all three group games, including a 3-16 to 0-07 defeat to Kilcar.
• Burt played in the SFC a few years ago despite only playing in Division 3 of the ACL at the time - but are currently in the Relegation play-offs in the IFC.
• Milford played in Division 4 of the ACL not too long ago, as well as the JFC and now compete in Division 1 and the SFC. In theory, had they not won those JFC and IFC titles, they would still be competing in the JFC.

Personally, I feel that the current system of both competitions being treated separately has lead to too many uncompetitive games in the Championship as clubs competing at a higher level in the ACL obviously have an advantage of facing better teams in the league in preparation for the Championship in comparison to opponents playing in a lower Division (just as is it does at Intercounty level) - Buncrana being the prime example this year. Between Na Rossa, Lifford and Carndonagh - they scored a combined total of 1-10 against Buncrana - who themselves scored a total of 6-58 (an average of 2-19 per game). On the flip side of this, I know it could be argued that the current system has resulted in Donegal clubs doing very well in the Ulster Club Championships in recent years as Urris, Red Hughs and Naomh Colmcille all reached finals of the Ulster JFC competition.

In Donegal, we currently have four divisions in the ACL (five technically but there is no promotion/relegation between Division 4 and Division 5) and three levels of Championship football - so this will continue to be an issue in my opinion so long as the two competitions are treated separately.

Personally, I would be in favour of implementing a league and championship system similar to that in Co. Tyrone to level the playing field: all Division 1 clubs play in the SFC, all Division 2 clubs play in the IFC and all Division 3 clubs play in the JFC. The League winners and Championship winners are promoted to a higher division and a higher championship grade for the following season with the team finishing last in the league automatically relegated to the league and championship competition below for the following season, with the second last team in the upper division and the 'runner-up' in the lower-division facing each other in a promotion/relegation play-off. This would result in two teams being promoted/relegated each year - with the potential for a third based on the result of the promotion/relegation play-off game.

There are 39 football clubs in Donegal so that could be three divisions of 13 clubs, - but I would imagine 16 Senior Clubs/16 Intermediate Clubs/7 Junior Clubs would be the more likely option. This would see Senior and Intermediate clubs play each other once in the league (15 games per team) and would ensure four groups of four in the championship (3 games per club) - so each club would have at least 18 games per season (personally, I prefer the 'traditional' straight knock-out system of Championship football myself but that's a separate discussion to this).

Obviously the 16/16/7 approach would result in only 6 league games for each Junior club but Home and Away games could obviously be used here to increase the number of league games to 12 - or there could even be an argument about including those clubs that currently compete in the Division 5/Senior C competitions in with the Junior clubs (Errigal Ciaran's Third Team competes in Division 3 in Tyrone). Most of these teams competed in the Junior B Championship previously and did so with great success.

I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on this? Do people feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed? And if so, what are your thoughts on the proposed system?"
Agree with your post.
Division 1 for senior championship with 16 teams.
Division 2 for Intermediate championship with 16 teams.
Division 3 for Junior Championship with 7 teams. Play home and away.
Top team in league gets promoted and the team who wins the championship gets promoted. If this is the same team then 2nd place team in the league gets promoted. Bottom team in league gets relegated and bottom team in championship play-offs get relegated. Again if this is the same team, 2nd from bottom in league gets relegated.
Will make the leagues more competitive and clubs will see a clear way of progressing up through the ranks from junior to intermediate and intermediate to senior. At the minute, its easier to stay in the senior championship than to get into it. Clubs with ambition need incentive to get better and this could be a solution. A lot of very good points in this proposal.
I believe it was proposed 3/4 years ago and needed 2/3rd majority to get passed and just came up short. May be worth another go if some club were to propose it.

ryan (Donegal) - Posts: 444 - 08/10/2019 11:44:35    2242022

Link

I wouldn't agree on having 16 teams in a league structure. It would take away that competitive edge that are in our leagues now over the past number of years. We had a similar system years ago and it was flawed. Too many teams that were content to sit mid table and were happy as long as they retained there div 1 status. The smaller league means that every game is a near must win as there is such fine margins between the top tier and bottom (generally).

I would agree that the championship structure is not perfect, maybe have a relegation/promotion that includes more than one team?

GAllAgher (Donegal) - Posts: 2 - 11/10/2019 10:41:33    2242752

Link

Replying To GAllAgher:  "I wouldn't agree on having 16 teams in a league structure. It would take away that competitive edge that are in our leagues now over the past number of years. We had a similar system years ago and it was flawed. Too many teams that were content to sit mid table and were happy as long as they retained there div 1 status. The smaller league means that every game is a near must win as there is such fine margins between the top tier and bottom (generally).

I would agree that the championship structure is not perfect, maybe have a relegation/promotion that includes more than one team?"
Definitely would agree. This is the big negative of larger leagues. With the 10 team league structure games are mostly very competitive. Div 2 is very even with teams as likely to get promoted as relegated.

ryan (Donegal) - Posts: 444 - 11/10/2019 12:42:55    2242798

Link

It seems your issue with our current system is that some larger clubs are dropping down to Junior leading to less of a chance for the smaller Junior clubs winning their championship. This could be true however Letterkenny Gaels played Div 4 all year and almost won the Junior Championship. In fact before the current system came into effect the Junior championship was generally won by a team that also got promotion from Div4 that same year.
If teams are dropping down on purpose to try to win something then you would question their reasoning and ambition. This is also happening in underage in our county at present with clubs deciding to drop to Div2 instead of playing Div1 as they feel they won't win it. Surely again its about developing players and trying to improve year on year until you eventually are competitive enough to possibly win at your highest level. Population and small picks aren't a good enough reason. Kilcar are an example of this. Small parish, small pick but competitive at senior for a long time.

Back to the senior set up and I think the current ACL set up, Senior and Intermediate are all working very well. The relegation from Intermediate to Junior is the only thing that needs a tweek.

Tir Conaill Abu (Donegal) - Posts: 1552 - 15/10/2019 21:38:21    2243820

Link

Replying To Tir Conaill Abu:  "It seems your issue with our current system is that some larger clubs are dropping down to Junior leading to less of a chance for the smaller Junior clubs winning their championship. This could be true however Letterkenny Gaels played Div 4 all year and almost won the Junior Championship. In fact before the current system came into effect the Junior championship was generally won by a team that also got promotion from Div4 that same year.
If teams are dropping down on purpose to try to win something then you would question their reasoning and ambition. This is also happening in underage in our county at present with clubs deciding to drop to Div2 instead of playing Div1 as they feel they won't win it. Surely again its about developing players and trying to improve year on year until you eventually are competitive enough to possibly win at your highest level. Population and small picks aren't a good enough reason. Kilcar are an example of this. Small parish, small pick but competitive at senior for a long time.

Back to the senior set up and I think the current ACL set up, Senior and Intermediate are all working very well. The relegation from Intermediate to Junior is the only thing that needs a tweek."
No team is deliberately dropping down a level to get success, that's rubbish

totalrecall (Leitrim) - Posts: 461 - 19/10/2019 10:00:44    2244333

Link