Leitrim Forum

The Great Taboo "Amalgamations"

(Oldest Posts First)

Inspired by a topic often raised on this forum.
There are just too many clubs in Leitrim with tiny populations. All counties have a few small junior clubs, but the difference is the majority of ours are small junior clubs. It's not just the playing numbers that suffer. Many small clubs in Leitrim have have poor facilities. Nearly all clubs in Leitrim struggle for sponsorship. How many clubs in Leitrim can say that there was genuine competition to be elected to the club executive? it's the same people playing musical chairs between positions because they don't have people that want to take the job off them (that is no way an attack at the people doing it for years, fair play to them for giving so much time). How many clubs have several coaches wanting to manage an underage team?

How many of our Senior clubs would be able to avoid relegation in some of the stronger senior club championships(excluding Dublin etc) over the past ten years? Mary's, Manor and Mohill at a push?

Amalgamations have to be at least seriously debated. In other counties there are success stories. Obviously there is the Kerry example, although to be fair they have long been a successful county. To be honest I will be the first to admit that I don't fully understand the ins and outs of the Kerry regional teams in their Senior championship, but it somehow seems to work.

Our underage county teams seem to be benefiting at least a little bit in recent years from more competitive minor A championship where any of 4/5 teams could have went all the way in the last few years. This is at least partly down to amalgamations.

Then you have clubs that fully amalgamated in other counties like Rathdowney-Errill in Laois. While it has won them much personal success it can also be argued the recent upturn in their Senior Hurling teams fortunes have at least partly benefited from the more competitive domestic club championship in the county as a result of their amalgamation.
Imagine how much more competitive the Leitrim football championship would be if Allen Gaels and Ballinaglera or Carrigallen and Aughavas joined forces. YES this would make it much, much harder for a non amalgamated team to win a championship, but it would still be possible as long as 2 "big" clubs don't join forces or the likes of Mohill and Eslin as they could hypothetically be far too strong at least on paper.

I know it's all very hypothetical but I'd love to see what people think of the idea. The only stipulation I would have to see guaranteed would be that an amalgamation would have to be broken if Crossmaglen style domination broke out. Also club executives should be able to vote every year on if they want to continue the amalgamation. I think it does hurt other teams a lot when one team runs away with it too often.

(Apologies for spelling and grammer)

premiumrashers (Leitrim) - Posts: 49 - 18/11/2015 20:00:15    1808343


A few interesting points there Rashers.

I'm not overly sure is there too many small clubs, Aughawillan proved has a small club with the right mindset can do, and Eslin could be Intermediate finalists any given year so I'm not sure. I think standard is our main issue. There is no question but that we could sustain a healthy 12 team Intermediate and Senior Championship - or at the very least a 10 team one, if the standard of football in the county could be improved. We are in a much better position than say Cavan, who have about 17 Senior Clubs and are facing a similar issue to the one you have outlined.

As far as amalgamations go, I think the Divisional structure would not work here for one reason you mention yourself .. facilities just aren't good enough. If you look across to neighboring Longford, more than half of their Senior Clubs have fullsize adjoining pitches, and at least 5 floodlit pitches to facilitate evening games. Leitrim have 2, and they are both in the South of the County.

Kerry's Divisional Structure is based on a Senior Club Championship, for the Senior Clubs alone, that is played through when Kerry Seniors are in action (I think), and a Senior County Championship, where Intermediate and Junior Clubs come together to create a seperate, affiliated Regional club, with it's own crest and colours, that play alongside the standalone Senior Clubs. It's not so much an amalgamation, more of that the Intermediate and Junior clubs act as feeder clubs to the Regional Team - i.e Bryan Sheehan's club is St Mary's Cahirciveen (Intermediate) but he plays senior with South Kerry (Regional). Paul Galvin & Eamonn Fitzmaurice would play for Finuge (Junior) but senior with Feale Rangers (Regional). I'd love to see it trialled in Leitrim as it would certainly improve the competitiveness and standard at the top end, no question but you look at Leitrim's recent success in Connacht at U16 and Minor Level and you would say the A Championship is working. Yet, I don't think we are open minded and progressive enough to adopt it.

I would say there is a general malaise in Leitrim club football around interest and competitiveness for posts in clubs etc etc but similarly, you find the teams competing and winning regularly are always better suited in this regard, you'll find clubs like Mohill, who have won more this year than some players win in a lifetime, will experience a ground swell in people getting involved now and rowing in, success breeds success.

Short Answer: I would love to see it trialed in some way, and would be great if Leitrim GAA would liaise with other County Boards, look around and see what works and what doesn't in other counties and why, but if we can't even convince clubs to play mickey mouse league games without county players, or midweek, we have little hope of supporting something like this.

But it has to be looked at, Leitrim Seniors can train round the clock and be insulated with the county, away from their clubs, but until the club scene improves, we will get it hard to get Division 4 promotion, never mind Connacht. CAn't build a house with the roof first.

Dodgy_Pass (Leitrim) - Posts: 325 - 19/11/2015 09:42:34    1808379


We're smaller than everywhere else. If we want to compete, we have to think smarter and create a situation where standards are higher and the cream is allowed to rise to the top.

To this end, I would ban amalgamations & introduce 3 permanent regions e.g. North, West (say clubs bordering the Shannon) & East (rest of South Leitrim) to provide a bridge between the lower level clubs and the rest at all levels.

These regions would compete for the senior championship with the 7 strongest club sides (2 groups of 5). We all know there are nowhere near 12 clubs of senior standard in the county (even 7 is stretching it). On the flip side, there are very good footballers who we'll never see in the SFC because their club will never make it.

These regions would also play in the 15 a side underage competitions along withe the bigger clubs. Smaller clubs could compete in say 9 and 11 a side comps and then allow their better players to line out for the regional 15s side. At the moment, we have decent young players who don't play 15 a side football until either their first adult game or an underage county trial where they spend most of it trying to work out how to play a 15 a side game they've never played before.

As I said, we gotta think smarter to survive. If everything has to revolve strictly around the parish boundaries as at present, we'll be looking for a NFL Division 5 to compete in, never mind Division 3.

TheCartownBus2 (Leitrim) - Posts: 34 - 12/01/2016 17:53:58    1816126


the amalgamations system in leitrim is a joke. supposedly there to to imporve football standards, yet clubs like Mohill who have just one won the league and c'ship double see fit to amalagamate with other clubs to "win" at underage level evn though they ahve the numbers. I don't see how amalgamated teams who can arrive at a game with up to 10-15 players as subs playing against club teams with 17-18 players improves the quality of football as the scorelines from some of the games would suggest. In addition it also means up to 8-10 players of the amalgamated team getting no game time at all, which is really going to promote the game !!!! if you are going to amalgamate, look at the clubs who are fielding at 9 and 11 a side and run those competitions seperately. the only people who can change this are the clubs but i don't see the turkeys voting for christmas anytime soon!

totalrecall (Leitrim) - Posts: 492 - 19/01/2016 09:27:56    1817536


Hi total The regional idea would solve this - the lads who currently play for Mohill from Cloone & Eslin would be diverted to South East Leitrim along with players from the other smaller clubs in the area.

TheCartownBus2 (Leitrim) - Posts: 34 - 25/01/2016 16:46:35    1819138