Antrim Forum

U21 Club Championship

(Oldest Posts First)

So, it has been decided that the U21 Championship this year will have the grading round as Groups of 4 with the top 2 going to the A Championship and the bottom 2 in to the B Championship. While I like the idea of getting more games at this age group (as it is an age group I always enjoyed playing and watching) I think they have jumped in without thinking the thing out.

Yes, play that format but if you are going down that route then you need to be starting it earlier in the season. Each team is now guaranteed 4 games of football - 3 in the grading group stage and then your first round match in whichever Championship you progress to. In other words, if you get consecutive weekends to play the games, you are looking at the first round proper of each competition being played 4 weeks after the first group game with another 3 or 4 rounds to be played to determine the winners.

When you look at the proposed dates it is mad and again it looks like there was no proper thought given to it. The 3 group games are proposed for the Sat 20th and 27th October and 3rd November. A quick glance at the Antrim fixtures for the same period:

21st October:
2 fixtures in Div 3 Football
Fixtures in Div 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the Hurling

28th October:
Div 1, Div 2 and Div 3 fixtures in Football

And that is before you even look at the Ulster fixtures:

20/21st October:
Ulster Junior Football Championship 1/4 Final: Antrim winners v Donegal Winners

3rd/4th November
Ulster Junior Semi Final: could involve Antrim Junior winners if they win first round
Ulster Intermediate 1/4 Finals: Antrim winners v Monaghan winners

So it looks like there are going to have to be decisions made by a number of clubs as to how they approach the U21s or if they bother with it as for some teams there will be too much going on in the Senior front on the same weekends. I will not be surprised if a few clubs actually withdraw from it on that basis. I think they shouldn't have shoe horned it in this season but left it until next year and planned it properly, starting it earlier in the season instead of leaving it as an afterthought and cramming it in to the winter months. But then again, when you look at those who take these decisions and how they deal with things historically then I am not surprised at all by the announcement.

Offside_Rule (Antrim) - Posts: 4055 - 21/09/2018 09:53:28    2143109


It would be much better to have a senior group championship set up.

Rules_man (Armagh) - Posts: 152 - 13/10/2018 23:29:32    2146409


Not even sure what the craic is with the U21s any more - the initial dates had the first group games taking place this weekend but can't see anything on the County website regarding fixtures or the likes. And as mentioned before, there is a round of Football fixtures in the County for the following weekend so if it wasn't started this coming weekend on the basis of there being a number of football games already fixed at Senior level then you would imagine the w/e of the 28th is also out.

Sure it will be over by Christmas.......

Offside_Rule (Antrim) - Posts: 4055 - 16/10/2018 11:01:18    2146755


And so it begins this weekend with round 1 of the Phase 1 matches:

Naomh Seosamh/St Joseph's---v---Naomh Comhghall CLG
Kickhams GAC Creggan---v---Roger Casements Portglenone
Con Magee's Glenravel---v---Naomh Seamas
Clann na hÉireann Carragan---v---Tír na nÓg
Cuchullains Dunloy---v---St. Mary's G.A.C. Aghagallon
All Saints Ballymena---v---St Ergnat's Moneyglass
Naomh Gall---v---O`Donovan Rossa
St Brigids GAC---v---St John's GAC

Should be some decent enough games around the County looking at some of the pairings.

Offside_Rule (Antrim) - Posts: 4055 - 01/11/2018 18:04:16    2149141


Been a bit of water under the bridge since the last post up here and now both A and B reaching the Semi Final stages with all but one of the 1/4 finals having been played.

A Championship:
St Brigids v Creggan
Rossa v Dunloy

B Championship:
Ballymena v Moneyglass
Glenravel v winners of Lamh Dhearg/St Endas (down to be played this Wed night)

The A Championship I think is quite hard to call but given that St Endas are in the B by default if you like then they should really be winning it at a canter now that they have no Ulster to distract them.

Offside_Rule (Antrim) - Posts: 4055 - 03/12/2018 15:11:24    2153191


So another twist in the U21 Championship this year as St Endas pull out of the B Competition meaning Lámh Dhearg get a bye to the semi where they will meet Glenravel this weekend.

One thing which struck me was that in both the A and B we had quarter finals made up of two teams who had come out of the same Grading group. I think this is one thing they maybe need to look at if they are continuing the format next year as there should be something in there that you can't come out of a group then play the same team straight away.

Similarly, given that there are now a couple of teams who've got a bye to the Semis as teams have dropped out they have to make sure that any team who enters the Competition is going to see it through to exit or victory and should be handing out fines for any team this year who has pulled out. Otherwise we will continue making a mockery of this competition like has been and is.

Taking LD as an example - due to no fault of their own they got 2 of their 3 league games played and then had to play a Group playoff against one of the two teams they already played to see who went to the A (after the St Endas issue). So, at the end of the Phase 1 they had played 3 and lost 3 so went in to the B. They then are due to play St Endas who pull out so end up in the semi final having not won one game while other teams in the semi will have played 4 games and will have won at least one to be there.

There is something seriously not right with our games administration when you end up in this sort of situation.

Offside_Rule (Antrim) - Posts: 4055 - 07/12/2018 11:04:10    2153578


And actually just realising that 3 of the 1/4 finals involved teams who had just come out of the same group:

St Johns v St Brigids
Portglenone v Creggan
Láhm Dhearg v St Endas

Offside_Rule (Antrim) - Posts: 4055 - 07/12/2018 11:17:09    2153579


Programme is a joke. Saturday Games are designed to hamper clubs not improve participation.

Rules_man (Armagh) - Posts: 152 - 14/12/2018 16:37:40    2154295


See the A final has had to be postponed due to the weather. I mean, it's pretty unlucky to hit a bad spell of weather at this time of the year with its normal wall to wall sunshine. I heard the pitch was in good condition though which is commendable having a good grass surface at this time of year for a Championship final...... oh wait....... Still, at least it will be over by Christmas.

Offside_Rule (Antrim) - Posts: 4055 - 15/12/2018 14:12:05    2154352