Donegal adopts new club league format

Donegal adopts new club league format
Four Masters and Cloughaneely are saved from relegation as Donegal adopts new All-County Football League format.

Four Masters and Cloughaneely are saved from relegation as Donegal adopts new All-County Football League format.

This follows the passing of a new league format which had been proposed by Cloughaneely at Monday night’s county committee meeting in Ballybofey.

The new format sees three ten team divisions and nine teams in Division Four and six teams in Division Five for 2014. Pettigo, who have been named in Division Four, are understood to have applied to play in the lower division. This would reduce Division Four to eight teams and increase Division Five to seven.

The teams play each other twice - home and away - bringing the total number of games to 18 per season in the top three divisions.

The top team in each division wins the respective league and in the case of Divisions Two and Three and Four are automatically promoted. The bottom teams in the top three divisions are automatically relegated while promotion and relegation are to decided by way of play-offs. This will involve the second from the bottom of the higher league playing-off with the second from the top of the lower division to determine status for the following season.

The Cloughaneely proposal was one of three before Monday night’s meeting with the others being forwarded by by Ardara and Naomh Muire.

Naomh Muire proposed the retention of the outgoing system with the slight alteration of the promotion/relegation front. They proposed that the old system of one automatic promotion and relegation positions and the second and third from bottom system be replaced with a straight two up and two down system.

The Ardara proposal was the most radical and was more or less a return to the format prior used prior to the introduction of outgoing format. They proposed Division One to be made up of the top 16 teams - playing each other once - 15 games, Division Two would contain the next 14 teams - playing each other once - 13 games. Division Three would have nine teams - playing each other twice - 16 games and Division Four would have six teams.

The league would be won by the top team who would be also automatic promoted with the bottom team relegated. Promotion and relegation would be determined by the second from the bottom playing off with the second from the top playing- off to decide status for the following season.

This proposal, the first of the three taken, was lost with a large majority which led to a head to head between the Naomh Muire and Cloughaneely proposals.

And while there was strong support for the Naomh Muire format the Cloughaneely proposal, which was proposed by club delegate Seamus O’Domhnaill, won the day by 49 votes to 38.

Assurances were also given to John Cunningham, Killybegs, by the county chairman Sean Dunnion, that county players would be available to the clubs for all games with the exception of the weekend before a big championship game, which is covered under rule.

Under the new format club players in the top two divisions will get two more games in a season which is a positive and to be welcomed. The other big winners are Four Masters, Cloughaneely who had been reprieved from being relegated from Divisions One and Two respectively. The new football league season has been pencilled in for a start date of Sunday March 23rd.