Donegal GAA officials have not, as yet, finalised dates for the playing of the county’s senior and intermediate club championships.
This was confirmed by Sean McGinley, secretary of the Donegal CCC, at Monday night’s monthly meeting of the county board.
The CCC official was responding to a query from Ardara delegate Mark Kelly, who had asked was there a date set for the championship draw and a start date for the championships.
“We have no definite date for the championship so far,” said the CCC secretary, who also went on to state that he was not happy with the decision of last year to not play any games in the intermediate or senior championship until Donegal complete their All-Ireland championship series.
“That decision poses serious problems for the playing of the championships. If we are to reach the All-Ireland final - which I hope we do - we will have a situation like we had in 2012 and, as we all know, that was not very satisfactory.
“We hope to have a meeting shortly with the senior management to discuss the matter. And we will not have a start date until we have that meeting,” explained McGinley, who also added that the CCC had the power to fix the dates on their own.
Speaking on the matter, county chairman Sean Dunnion, assured delegates that the matter was being dealt with. And he stated that hopefully following discussions between the CCC and the team management an amicable agreement on the matter can be reached.
CCC chairman, Denis Ellis, under pressure from Mark Kelly, denied that there was any split on the CCC on the matter.
However, he did explain that there was a general concern among the CCC members that if Donegal were to go all the way to the All-Ireland final that it would prove difficult to play off the championships.
Donegal intermediate and senior clubs, following a number of meetings last Sepetember with Jim McGuinness, agreed not to play the intermediate or senior championship until Donegal’s championship season is over.
In relation to the All-County Football Leagues, Sean McGinley told Charlie McAteer, St Eunan’s, that Division One, Two and Three of the leagues would commence on Sunday March 23rd and this would be followed by at least a three week break.
This, he said, was due to Donegal’s involvement in the National Football League and a week-long team training camp in Portugal.
He also explained, much to the annoyance of a number of clubs, that the break could extend to four weeks if Donegal were to qualify for the Division Two League final.
The CCC secretary also agreed with Pat McLaughlin, Malin; John Cunningham, Killybegs and Jim Quinn, Glenfin, all who were staunch in their criticism of the break, that it was very unfair on club players. But he insisted the CCC’s hands were tied on the matter.
However he also stated that while he was reluctant to use ‘Star Games’ so early in the season, if clubs were willing to agree to ‘Star Games’ he had no problem with the idea.
‘Star Games’ are where clubs with county players are paired against each other so that club games can go ahead without the county players. Under the new Donegal league format, which is to come into effect this season, clubs are bound by regulation to play two ‘Star Games.’
Sean McGinley also outlined that the CCC had drawn up a full list of fixtures for the All-County League right up to July.
“By July, the plan is to have 14 rounds of games played. We have the fixtures drawn up with dates and times for all games.”
Wrapping up the debate Sean Dunnion paid tribute to the CCC for their work on drawing up the league fixture programme. He also insisted the matter was being dealt with and he was confident it would be resolved before the March 31st deadline when the fixture schedule has to be forwarded to the Ulster Council for approval.