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Sludden envisions late May start for All-County leagues

A HEALTHY majority of clubs across Tyrone have given their endorsement for a full league programme for the 2021 season, and Martin Sludden says his personal ambition is that they can still get everything wrapped up in time for the club championships.

Sludden, who heads the Tyrone Competitions Control Committee (CCC), sought feedback from clubs on their preferred league format for the year ahead; and as it turns out, a traditional programme with a number of  starred games (nine for Division One and seven for Division Two) proved significantly more appealing than the split-league alternatives.

Anticipating that the 2021 season will begin in earnest in late-May, and reinforced by a palpable sensed of goodwill following the successes of last year, Sludden is hoping that it all goes off without a hitch.

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“The one thing I’d like to do is get the leagues finished before the championship starts.

“When some teams get knocked out of the championship, they don’t always have much left to play for if they’re sitting in mid-table and there’s four or five league games left to play.

“They have no chance of getting into the top four and the interest sometimes isn’t there.

“There’s no reason why we can’t get through the fixtures, especially with nine starred matches, but a lot of it depends on how far Tyrone go in the championship.

“That’s the big if – if Tyrone get to the All-Ireland final, which is pencilled in for late August, there might be some concerns as the club championships would have to start shortly afterwards and then we could be back to the same scenario of playing in late October or early November trying to get the leagues finished.”

For the rest of our interview with Martin Sludden, see this week’s Ulster Herald

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