By Niall Gartland
THE TYRONE CCC is requesting that clubs provide feedback on the scheduling of games in the the upcoming season.
In a letter addressed to clubs, Tyrone CCC chairman Martin Sludden and secretary Michelle Cox confirmed that the intention is to play all outstanding fixtures from the 2020 season as soon as possible.
They also said the desire is to play the Junior league as soon as those outstanding fixtures are fulfilled, while the Junior Championship may go ahead as soon as Division Three football concludes.
At Senior and Intermediate level, meanwhile, the CCC is debating whether to play a full league with eight or nine starred games or a developmental league followed by a split league scenario.
The letter is reprinted in full below:
“We hope that you are all safe and well.
The ability of our Clubs to recommence training is undoubtedly a positive step forward for all concerned. We are all looking forward to a further easing of restrictions in the near future which will allow us to commence our 2021 games programme for all our Clubs and Players.
When we last communicated with you back in January, the indications were that the National Leagues would have been completed by now and that the All-Ireland Finals would take place by mid-July. However, as we know, these plans were abandoned as restrictions were reintroduced. Last week the GAA produced an updated fixtures calendar, a copy of which is attached.
We want to communicate with you further and update you on what the year ahead might look like and to again seek your feedback on a few issues.
Youth Games Programme –
These are the youth age groups in 2021 for Tyrone Clubs:
Go Games – Under 7.5, 9.5, and 11.5
Youth – Under 13, 15, 17 and 19
Clarification – Size of ball to be used in U13 & U15 is Size 4 and U17 & U19 is Size 5.
The format of the youth leagues are still to be determined but it is hoped to provide double rounds in at least some age grades.
Croke Park has advised that the Government has not given an indication as to when the intercounty Under 17 and Under 20 Teams can return to training or games. As a result, these competitions have not been included in the most recent fixtures calendar. It has been mooted that these competitions may be moved to the end of the year to avoid clashes with Club fixtures.
Our plan is to provide all Club underage Players with as many playing opportunities as possible. This will result in a lot more games and a lot less training. There will naturally be associated challenges with having so many games in this window but hopefully more games and less training will be welcomed.
We are currently contacting Hurling Clubs to ascertain the numbers of teams for League and Championship at Adult and Youth levels. Once everyone has been communicated with, we will draw up the games programme in association with Hurling Development Officer and Committee.
Adult Games –
By way of confirmation, it is still our firm intention to complete all of the outstanding 2020 competitions as soon as we get the go ahead and it is our plan to have these games played first and before the commencement of 2021 competitions. A period of 2 weeks maximum is needed for these to be completed and as soon as we get the go ahead, fixtures will be sent out immediately to the participating Clubs.
– Junior League and Championship –
Junior Leagues are not impacted by unavailability of Players to the Inter-County Senior Football team and accordingly can proceed in full. Therefore, it has been decided that a full Junior League will start as soon as the outstanding games from 2020 are played and the make-up of the 2021 Intermediate and Junior leagues are finalised. It remains our preference to commence the Junior Championship after the completion of the Junior League.
– Intermediate and Senior Leagues –
In January we sought feedback in relation to three options.
Option A – A full league programme plus knockout championship
Option B – A split (half) league programme plus a knockout championship
Option C – A development competition, followed by a split league programme plus a knockout championship
To proceed with Option A, the number of starred games would need to be increased to potentially 8/9 games. It would also mean 4 teams would be relegated from Division 1, with 2 teams relegated from Division 2.
Option B would mean not having any Club games at all until Tyrone Senior Football Team would complete their championship campaign.
Should time permit, Option C would start the season with developmental leagues of nine teams in Division 1 and eight in Division 2. Trophy to be awarded for the winners of each league. Followed by split leagues, drawn randomly – Division 1 of 2 x 9 with the bottom 2 in each section to be relegated. In Division 2, the bottom team in each section to be relegated. Two teams promoted from Junior and Intermediate. Plus, a knockout championship.
Please note, if there isn’t time to run the full number of developmental league games, then these leagues could be further condensed into 2 x 5, 2 x 4 in Senior and 4 x 4 in Intermediate or if there wasn’t any time at all to run them, the developmental leagues could simply be scrapped and we would proceed to the split leagues.
All Adult Championships will be straight knockout. Championships to commence in late September and run through October into November. The Ulster Club series begins on 21st November. The preference would be to have leagues completed by the time Championships begin but that depends on the progress of the Tyrone Senior Football Team.
Winner on the Day rule –
There has been a lot of talk about the use of a penalty / free taking competition as the method used to decide the outcome of Championship games. The Winner on the Day regulations are set out in rule in the Official Guide and until that rule is changed, or until a deviation is sought and given, we must adhere to said rule to decide the winner of any Football/Hurling Championship games which finish level after extra time. We would however be very interested in hearing from you as to the possible alternatives for Winner on the Day regulations (currently a penalty shootout) for Club championship games bearing in mind the time constraints.
What next – we want your feedback –
Based on the above, do you prefer a full league with 8/9 starred games or time permitting a developmental league, followed by the split leagues as above? Please give us your views.
Based on your replies and the public health advice in relation to competitive games etc., we’ll decide on the games programme, start dates and fixtures for both youth and adult games.
Please provide all and any feedback by Sunday 25th April and hopefully by that stage the path to playing competitive games might be clearer.
In the meantime, we thank you for taking the time to read the above and we send you all our best wishes.
Is mise le meas
Mairtin O Sludain
Michealin Nic an Choiligh
Coiste Cheannais na gChomórtaisí”