Donegal Forum

Calling off County league matches.

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The debate rages on about the calling off club league matches in the county and like all debates everyone is entitled to an opinion. I heard last night that Buncrana in a Div 3 match due to be played against Naomh Mhuire on Saturday evening. The match was pulled 48 hours before-hand by invoking this confused 10 day rule as they have a county player in Ryan Bradley. As the rule stands, a rule which few understand Buncrana are completely within their rights to do this although I'm not sure that calling it off 48 hours beforehand is best practise. Did they only realise then that Ryan Bradley was a county player on Thursday night?

As a result of this nearly 80 GAA Players (two teams x two) are informed that a game that they trained for, prepared for, some got off work for is not happening 48 hours beforehand because one player is playing for Donegal. As there are 11 teams in this division it is unlikely even at best that this league would be finished by November yet here we are calling off games and creating free Sundays in June.

Promoting Gaelic football against other up and coming sports such as Rugby, surfing as well as the established and organised Soccer is a challenge all clubs in Donegal face. It makes no sense, no sense whatsoever to call off a Div 3 league match because one player is playing for Donegal leaving 80 keen GAA players with a free weekend in June while then asking them to play on soggy wet wintery conditions in Novemeber.

The fixtures committee have a difficult task in working out fixtures. I have no doubt its a minefield especially when they face pressure from Clubs, County senior management and players themselves. That does not however mean that they can't set out fixtures which are as fair as possible and then stick to them. We do appear to be the only county doing this. I explained this situation to a friend from Kerry last night and he honestly thought I was making it up. For years club league games in Kerry are played often midweek a few days before Championship county games and thats a norm.

The above is only an example, but it has happened very often at late where games are being called off within days of the fixture because this seemingly unwritten rule is being used and whereas we all want a successful County side and hopefully get a good run this year. It is damaging in the short and long term to club football and for the club player in Donegal.

atlanticgael (Donegal) - Posts: 207 - 24/06/2011 09:06:27    964483

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It's a bit unfair to single Buncrana out.

There are 3 games off this weekend, St Eunan's v Glenswilly, Mac Cumhaill's v Termon and Buncrana v N Mhuire. All of which were called off late last night.

Buncrana too feel a bit aggreived that last weekend they were forced to play without Ryan Bradley v N Brid, while David Walsh was allowed to line out for Ballintra. They lost that game, and if they're to have any chance of promotion they can't afford to lose another game.

But your points are well made. Calling off matches so late in the day is foolish. But it all stems from failing to provide for midweek games - something clubs have had ample opportunity play in recent years, but whenever it comes before a county board meeting the clubs vote it down. Jim McGuinness has said he'd be happy for his players to play midweek, up to 10 days before a championship match, but the CCC say their hands are tied.

The fixtures in this county are a mess - and fixing midweek games at the height of the summer, when it's bright until 10pm - would resolve a whole host of problems.

B.Bap (Donegal) - Posts: 186 - 24/06/2011 10:47:22    964575

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St.michaels refusing to play kilcar this sat evening aswell. Thats second time now they didnt come down 2 meet them, i reckon they should just give kilcar the points and get on with it, are they afraid of kilcar or what?? Sure arent kilcar missing equal amount of county players as michaels.

PeilAbu (Donegal) - Posts: 32 - 24/06/2011 13:16:36    964787

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St eunans v glenswilly called off due too two st eunans players playing for the u21s hurlers .st michaels playing glenswilly tomorrow in a friendly

donegal789 (Donegal) - Posts: 29 - 24/06/2011 13:32:52    964816

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B Bap...My intention is not to single Buncrana out but that is the example I am most aware of. Buncrana are absolutely right to invoke this "rule"...although no such rule exists and no doubt Naomh Mhuire if they were in a similar position would do likewise. The overall point I am making is that Soccer, Rugby, surfing etc....have a fixtures list....that list unless in exceptional circumstances is adhered to so lads know when they are playing for months in advance.

With GAA in Donegal....fellas wait until Monday night to see where they are playing that week. They train like men and prepare around work, girlfriends, wives, children etc. Then on the Thursday night late they are told there is no match after all. This is demotivating and unfair. It is a pattern that is age old. Club players are treated poorly and this is simply wrong...there is no debate there.

This particular league will now run well into November...while clubs like Naomh Mhuire and others will this weekend not play in good conditions. We talk and talk about this and then wonder why attendances are down and why other sports and past-times gather pace.

This is not only a fixtures committee issue...we have a Donegal GAA website which is the worst maintained website I have encountered. I have no doubt that it cost lots of GAA money to create it and seemingly have it maintained professionally. If this is the standard that the County board have in maintaining and updating a simple website and a simply programme of club fixtures....can you only imagine how the "Centre of excellence" costing millions in Convoy is going to be run !!!!

The mind boggles.

atlanticgael (Donegal) - Posts: 207 - 24/06/2011 15:43:22    965000

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100% agree with you Atlantic.

The only word I can think of for how fixtures are done in this county is disrespect. The way fixtures are made disrespects players and the effort they put in.

30-odd teams are playing this Saturday night, but when the game is over no manager will be able to tell his players when their next match is. It might be Saturday week, it might be on Sunday week, or it mightn't be for a fortnight.

Knowing what game, if any, is going to be played within the next seven days is very least that should be available, in terms of allowing teams to train midweek and allow players to live their lives outside of football.

That it isn't is an indictment of our fixtures committee and demonstrates the disrespect in which our players are held.

And that's not to single our the 2011 fixtures committee, the previous ones have been the same where teams don't know what's happening from one week to the next.

In fact, disrespect might be too mild a word, contempt would be better.

B.Bap (Donegal) - Posts: 186 - 24/06/2011 16:47:32    965068

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Agree totally with atlanticgael and B-bap, however I dont see where the soloution lies. Midweek games would not solve the problem as clubs still would not want to play without the county players. This is going for a number of years now and in fairness to fix committee no one has come up with a soloution to this crisis that all agree with. WHAT IS THE ANSWER?

ThePike (Donegal) - Posts: 156 - 24/06/2011 18:47:36    965224

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The Pike....What is the answer? The answer is a league programme for Clubs is set out with dates. There are no postponements for a week before County matches and the fixtures committee do all they can to arrange pairings Four Masters v Gweedore (Three county players each). The players either play in the club matches or they dont.

The current system...and calling it a system is incorrect.....disrespects club football. County players are more than capable of playing a club league match one week and playing for their County the next. In Donegal we seem to have this unhealthy notion that players must be protected for ten days before a County match. What about Premiership footballers who are worth millions who play games three days apart??? I fully understand why A County manager would want total rest....but that doesnt deem it correct. Club football is important on many fronts. I recently watched Glenswilly loose an All Ireland Gaeltacht chance by having two county players on the sideline as their clubmates lost by a point after two periods of extra time. Easily had one or both been introduced even for ten mins...they would have swung it. The following day...both players took part in a full blown, full contact county training session...what is that all about??

If you dont believe me...check with Counties like Kerry, Galway, Tyrone etc. Donegal have a mindset of players not playing for their clubs far more than elsewhere....that is the problem but its also the solution....Keep it simple.

atlanticgael (Donegal) - Posts: 207 - 24/06/2011 19:09:16    965251

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Agree with the general consensious on this thread. It's so frustrating when fixtures aren't going ahead and to be fair, the fixtures committe or person must have a continous headache. Last year before Donegal started championship, they came up with a novel idea of a secondary league, and not all teams bought into it, but at least they had a go at keeping clubs playing football. Turned out Donegal got no where and it got shelved. The unpredictability of County football success means god knows when they will be finished so do we potter about until then and maybe fullfil a fixture every odd week??? I thought the county board were winning the fight over the last few weeks by grading teams against each other by amount of players. i.e Gaoth dobhair vs Masters, Eunans Glenswilly and i thought div 2 fixtures this week were well matched. Very disappointed to hear Micheals wont play Kilcar especially when kilcar played mc cools last week minus 2 young bucks. I admire the clubs who carry on regardless and give opurtunities to players who want to step into the senior team when given the chance, brings out the best of sport in a team but with much at stake, i can appreciate some teams stance.

I mentioned this before but to no avail but i wish the county board could follow the donegal league website when there is always 2 and usually 3 weeks fixtures in advance. Someone mentioned it already, if we play this weekend, we have no idea of the next week. If people knew they had a free weekend, they could make the most of it. I know i had plans made because i was told probably no game cos donegal playing!

81DLSAM (Donegal) - Posts: 281 - 24/06/2011 19:33:03    965282

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Oh the Eunans game we have a number of u21 hurlers away and the senior footballers away to the Slieve Russell on saturday night dont think anyone could make fixtures for that. we have played 9 games and asked for one free weekend while other clubs just refuse to travel. The problem lies with the county team we either play without the players or not and fixtures cant be made if we dont decide the first 6 rounds came out then about a month of fixtures and then the senior team started championship and games were held up. Clubs have to go without couty players as the rest of the players deserve a game weekly. I dont think the fixtures committee are doing alot wrong to be honest as championship going ahead but the county players tell me McgUinness is going to instruct them to call it off next week, then the clubs need to stand up as I know a few clubs have players with the weekend booked off work and the arrangements made.

dllover (Donegal) - Posts: 263 - 24/06/2011 20:48:14    965378

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It seems that all clubs can find a reason/excuse not to play a game its not helping the development of football in the county the obvious example is soccer in the county they stick tightly to fixtures and have respect for the players it is all to easy to lay the blame for calling off fixtures with the fixtures commitee but ALL CLUBS are guilty of abusing the rules to gain posponments

EPSON (Donegal) - Posts: 125 - 24/06/2011 22:05:05    965451

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EPSON I agree 100% publish the fixtures at the beginning of the year and no changes, at least the rest of us know when we have a game.

dllover (Donegal) - Posts: 263 - 25/06/2011 09:38:51    965465

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Epsom....thats it...that is the solution which will best work. Tyrone do that successfully....all Tyrone players know their league matches until the end of September....has it done them any harm over the past ten years.

I take the point of "several" u-21s being away from St Eunans playing for Donegal hurlers......but this is a club with 3 senior teams...thats over 70 senior players. What does that say about the fringe players who would simply jump at the chance of being pulled into a senior league match....have they no right to play.

Or in the case of the Naomh Mhuire v Buncrana match called off because of one player......what about the other 79 players who comprise both 1st and 2nd teams from both clubs. They all had arrangements made, time off work sorted, transport, dates, girlfriends, wives and even a wedding excused from...getting news 48 hours beforehand for all of these players does not justify a game off because of one player missing....it would not happen in any other sport or indeed in this sport in other counties. As I say before...this is not Buncrana's fault....they are simply following the trend and using this loophole that if the county board dont comply....they will threaten Ulster Council action and frustrate the entire league....the Burt and Naomh Colmcille issue of last year scared them to death in that regard.

The only way to solve a problem is to solve the problem. The county board seem intent in kicking it down the road and get their year of office in......Poor.

atlanticgael (Donegal) - Posts: 207 - 25/06/2011 10:07:37    965480

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Sorry, i should also have also mentioned that although it would be good to have fixtures 2-3 weeks in advance like the Donegal League, it also has similar problems. FAI junior cup and Ulster cup games get presidence over league games but the dates are known well in advance. It often happens clubs have weeks where they have no games but they know in advance, and thats the key difference. P.S Clubs that have Oscar Traynor cup players (Donegal Team) do not have a fixture same weekend as a Oscar Traynor game but obviously do a week before hand.

How about this. Make the clubs sign up to an agreement at the start of every season that ensures county players must choose club or county for the duration of the league. No cancelations allowed and allow players to play for club 1 week in advance of a intercounty champonship fixtures. That should at least reduce the amount of disruption. Another thing where we could follow soccers lead. If the clubs fails to field for 2 fixtures, they are thrown out of the league for the remainder of the year and the next and must apply to re-enter the league. Something in this mold would soon cut the bullshit. Maybe someone could take this idea and try to develop it further!!

81DLSAM (Donegal) - Posts: 281 - 25/06/2011 10:13:23    965485

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You can't "make" people sign up to an agreement. Either it's an agreement or it's not. There will never be a solution to this I fear until Donegal GAA accept that the clubs are the priority. Why does the wishes of one man (Donegal manager) cripple the fixture list for every other adult player in the county.

SignTheContract (Donegal) - Posts: 63 - 25/06/2011 10:34:54    965500

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Hopefully this is sorted out...even now in the middle of the season and even though we look like Donegal could get a run together. Lets not get lost in the hype of the County doing well and forget there are hundreds of decent club players who need games. Good luck to Donegal...we're all behind them but not at the expense of Club football.

atlanticgael (Donegal) - Posts: 207 - 27/06/2011 16:49:54    968214

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Seen this on the main hoganstand page, interesting reading and very relevant to this thread..


2. Playing club championship games improves county teams.
We are always amazed when county boards effectively close down club championships so that intercounty teams can prepare for their own competition. It is a source of great frustration to club players and something Croke Park have tried, but failed, to tackle.

But does it actually help a county if club championships are put on hold? Looking at the weekend's results, many of the teams that lost have put their club games on hold while the winners are going full steam with local championship matches.

You will never hear of championship games being shelved in Kerry or Cork. Dublin clubs have a couple of rounds of championship under their belt, while there have already been four rounds of football championship in Meath.

However, there has not been a ball kicked in anger yet in the senior club championships of Kildare, Cavan or Louth, to name just a few.

The Lilywhites for example look super fit, but their sharpness in front of goal is letting them down. Surely a round meaningful club championship games would remove the doubt that exists in many of their forwards.

Cian Ward hit 4-3 for Meath in Breffni Park on Saturday evening, but his confidence was up on the back of scoring 1-10 for his club in a championship game seven days after losing to Kildare in Leinster. Darren Clarke was Louth's only dangerous forward in the same game. He scored 1-8 for his club the week before, but he is the only Louth player to experience club championship action so far this year, as he lined out with St Sylvester's in the Dublin SFC. Was it a co-incidence that he was the Wee County's best player?

Players only make their county side based on club form, but if they are mothballed for the summer, where is their sharpness or confidence going to come from?

Perhaps it's time for to stop the tail wagging the dog.

81DLSAM (Donegal) - Posts: 281 - 28/06/2011 09:32:45    968865

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Guys I did a bit of research on this, wait for it..the fixtures committee had a programme in place from March to Oct but did not publish it. They will now publish rounds 9 to 18 in div 3 and 4 because they cant publish them as they have no panel of county players and not aware when players are available. I'll be raising it our club as the county players panel 26 to 39 ? can ask the clubs to call off championship for over 350 - 400 just to suit them..elilte players and manager

dllover (Donegal) - Posts: 263 - 28/06/2011 18:15:01    969708

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81dlsam I agree with your last statement

dllover (Donegal) - Posts: 263 - 28/06/2011 20:21:13    969860

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Agree lads....play the games and keep Club football vibrant throughout the summer. That can and does work hand in hand with County success and we need to come away from this "bubblewrapping" of our County footballers. I can of course see McGuinness's aim...he is wearing the County Managers hat....but can you imagine him as Club manager, which he was....his idea would be much different.

Here is sportsmanship. Last week, Buncrana pulled a league game against Naomh Mhuire at the last minute practically... using this unwritten and unagreed rule because of Ryan Bradley.That ment that a div 3 league match and reserves meant 79 players were gagging for a game and because of a single player...no game.

This weekend coming...neither Club were involved in Championship....meaning both would see no action again....two Sundays in June and no games. To their credit, Buncrana agreed to reverse the fixture they cancelled....so they will now travel to Naomh Mhuire on Saturday evening. Hats off to them which shows Clubs want to play at all times.....but not in Novemeber as would seem inevitable now.

atlanticgael (Donegal) - Posts: 207 - 29/06/2011 08:41:48    970022

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