Donegal League launches new format

Donegal League launches new format
The Delegates of the clubs within the Donegal Junior League met at League Headquarters on Monday night last.

The Delegates of the clubs within the Donegal Junior League met at League Headquarters on Monday night last.

This is the traditional first Delegate meeting of the new season and a number of issues were addressed. Clubs were informed as to the final make-up of the Divisions for the new season and the Delegates also received the fixtures for the group stages of the Brian Mc Cormick Cup.

Group details were also issued for the Downtown Cup but there are no fixtures arranged yet for this competition.

Donegal Junior League

Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier Division

Cranford United

Curragh Athletic

Donegal Town

Glenea United

Gweedore Celtic

Kilmacrennan Celtic

Lifford Celtic

Milford United

Rathmullan Celtic

St. Catherines

Watson Hire Division One

Bonagee United

Cappry Rovers

Castlefin Celtic

Drumoghill FC

Dunkineely Celtic

Eany Celtic

Gweedore United

Keadue Rovers

Kerrykeel ’71 FC

Lagan Harps

CT Ball Division Two

Ballybofey United

Copany Rovers

Convoy Arsenal

Deele Harps

Drumbar United

Dunlewy Celtic

Glenree United

Letterbarrow Celtic

Raphoe Town

Whitestrand FC

In the Sunday League there will be two teams automatically relegated from the Premier Division while the third team from the bottom of the table will play the team who finish third in Division One in the promotion / relegation play-off.

The top two teams in Division One will automatically be promoted. The same criteria will apply to Divisions One and Two although there will be no relegation from Division Two as this is the lowest Sunday Division. As you can see from the League lists Arranmore United have moved out of Sunday football and will play in the Saturday League in 2013/’14 while Deele Harps have once again returned to the Sunday League having played last season in the Saturday League where they won the Glencar Inn Division Two.

Donegal League

Old Orchard Inn Saturday Division One

Castlefin Celtic Reserves

Erne Wanderers

Fintown Harps AFC

Glenea United Reserves

Glencar Celtic

Mulroy Celtic

Orchard FC

Ramelton Mariners

St. Catherines Reserves

Glencar Inn Saturday Division Two

Arranmore United

Cranford United Reserves

Curragh Athletic Reserves

Donegal Town Reserves

Glenree United Reserves

Gweedore United Reserves

Keadue Rovers Reserves

Milford United Reserves

Strand Rovers

Tullyvinney Rovers

The Saturday League will see one team automatically relegated from Division One with the second from the bottom of the table taking part in the promotion / relegation play-off against the team who finish third in Division Two. The Division Two winners and runners-up will both gain automatic promotion to Division One. That concluded the League set-up for the new 2013/’14 season. Fixtures will be announced nearer to the League commencement date.

The Brian Mc Cormick Cup will commence as it did last season with the teams playing in local Area Groups. The Areas are the traditional Donegal League Areas of Letterkenny, Gweedore, Lifford and Donegal. All four Areas will have two Groups 1 and 2. The breakdown is as listed.

There are eight groups in the Brian McCormick Sports Cup.

Letterkenny area 1 - Bonagee, Rathmullan, Mulroy, Kerrykeel, Orchard.

Letterkenny area 2 - Glencar. Milford, Kilmacrennan, Ramelton, Whitestrand.

Gweedore area 1 - Keadue, Dunlewey, Arranmore, Strand Rovers.

Gweedore area 2 - Gweedore United, Glenea, Gweedore Celtic, Cranford.

Lifford area 1 - Convoy, Lifford, Deele Harps, Castlefin, Tullyvinny.

Lifford area 2 - Lagan, Ballybofey, Drumoghill FC, Raphoe, Curragh.

Donegal area 1 - Donegal Town, Dunkineely, Eany, Fintown, Drumbar, Cappry.

Donegal area 2 - Letterbarrow, Donegal Town reserves, St Caherine’s, Erne, Copany.

Group matches will commence in seven of the eight Groups in the four Areas on Thursday 15th August. The other group, Group 1 in the Gweedore Area, which has one team less than all the other groups, will commence on Sunday 18th August.

This group will have no midweek matches and will be contested over three successive Sundays. As well as the opening Thursday evening matches the other seven groups will have matches on all three Sundays and also midweek on Thursday 22nd August.

The four Area Shield Finals will be contested by the Group winners in each Area on Sunday 8th September. All evening matches are scheduled to kick-off at 7pm while the Sunday matches will kick-off at 2pm. In the Gweedore Area the Area Shield Final will kick-off at 1pm if Arranmore United are involved. A full fixtures list will be published by local media outlets next week and will also be available on the League’s newly revamped Website when it comes live towards the end of July.

In the meantime some note worth fixtures are as follows: New Club Strand Rovers will play their first Donegal Junior League match on Sunday 18th August when they host Keadue Rovers in Maghery. Brian Mc Cormick Cup holders Rathmullan Celtic will begin the defence of the Cup when they travel to Kerrykeel ’71 FC on Thursday 15th August.

Last season’s defeated finalists Glenea United will be tying to go one better this term and will get their campaign underway on Thursday 15th August when Gweedore Celtic visit Glasserchoo. League Champions Lifford Celtic start the new season when they make the short trip to play Castlefin Celtic at Parkview in Group 1 in the Lifford Area.

The Downtown Cup will not get underway until the turn of the year but League Secretary Christina O’ Donnell stated that there may be action before Christmas depending on the progress of the League Fixtures. The Downtown Cup Groups for 2013/’14 are as follows:

Downtown Cup

Group A

Glenea United Reserves

Donegal Town Reserves

Fintown Harps AFC

Curragh Athletic Reserves

Milford United Reserves

Group B

Glencar Celtic

Tullyvinney Rovers

Ramelton Mariners

Arranmore United

Erne Wanderers

Group C

Keadue Rovers Reserves

Glenree United Reserves

Mulroy Celtic

Gweedore United Reserves

Orchard FC

Group D

St. Catherines

Cranford United Reserves

Strand Rovers

Castlefin Celtic Reserves

With Fees paid and registration books issued the Delegates were informed of some new initiatives which the League will be introducing for the new season.

A major part of this will be the Media Partnership which the League is currently finalising with a group of Donegal Businesses. The Delegates also heard that all current sponsors have again agreed to support the League in 2013/’14.

This is a very important boost to the League which has enjoyed great relations with it’s sponsors throughout the past 41 years since it’s conception.

The final business of the night was such that brought great pride not alone to the player involved but also to the whole League.

Christopher Sweeney of Gweedore Celtic was presented with his Irish Amateur International Cap by the League Chairman John Joe Mc Cafferty and Secretary Christina O’ Donnell. Leading the tributes Mr. McCafferty said that he had been involved with the League in some capacity for a very long time and in all those years this ranked among the highest achievements gained by the League or any of it’s clubs or players.

To represent your country is indeed the ultimate honour and the fact that Christopher had won this Cap goes to show that even though Donegal Junior League players may not be playing in the more urban Leagues it is still possible to gain international recognition.

A member of Stephen Corcoran’s Oscar Traynor team, Sweeney was then selected to represent Ulster in an Inter-Provincial match and from there he gained national exposure which saw him selected by his country. He made his debut earlier this year in a match against Northern Ireland.

In congratulating Sweeney Stephen Corcoran said that Christopher had now shown players in the Donegal League the way to go and it was up to them if they had the desire to follow in his footsteps. He urged players to make themselves available if selected for the League’s Oscar Traynor Panel. Sometimes players tend to not give this competition the respect that it deserves.

Christopher’s achievement has now shown that if you are of the required standard then it is possible to progress through the exposure gained by playing in this competition. Sweeney then thanked the League and the League’s team manager Corcoran for giving him the opportunity to gain this recognition.

He thanked his own club Gweedore Celtic and said it was a great feeling to be selected to represent his country. He backed up Corcoran by asking players to attend training etc. if selected for the Oscar Traynor Panel. The League’s side were somewhat unlucky not to progress from the group stages of this competition in the season just finished but encouragement should be drawn from the fact that Inishowen had reached this year’s decider and although they were defeated in the final it was still a great achievement. The meeting concluded with everyone looking forward to the new season.