New club championship to have open draw

Donegal’s premier club football competition, the senior championship, is to change to a league format in 2013, replacing the old two legged first round system.

Donegal’s premier club football competition, the senior championship, is to change to a league format in 2013, replacing the old two legged first round system.

This follows the strengthening of a regulation passed last year to run the championship in four groups of four teams, league format, with quarter-finals semi-finals and final and one team being relegated from the championship.

The new format will see an open draw from the nine Division One teams, the top six teams in Division Two and the Intermediate champions.

In the event of the Intermediate champions coming from one of the six teams in Division Two, then the top seven teams will complete the line-up.

The groups which will be named A,B, and D will be drawn at random for the 16 team with the top two teams in each group at the end of the three games league section qualifying for the knock out quarter-final stage of the championship.

The bottom team in each group will play off to determine the one team to be relegated.

Last year’s regulation was proposed by Killybegs and was just for one year. However, it was strengthened by this year’s proposal from Four Masters that recommended that the format be run over a two year cycle.

The big advantage in running the competition over the two year cycle ensures that each club would be guaranteed three home games over the two seasons.

Ardara had a proposal which would have teams seeded. However, after a lengthy discussion and arguments from Mary Kelly, Ardara, on the advantage of the seeded format the Killybegs/Four Masters regulation was passed by county committee on a vote of 45 to 10 votes.

In other regulations relating to the playing of games, it was agreed to remove the regulation that no league fixtures be fixed for Gaeltacht clubs on the weekend of the Donegal Gaeltacht finals and the All-Ireland final weekends.

This regulation was controversially passed last year after complaints from a number of Gaeltacht clubs that had hosted the county finals and the All-Ireland finals of the competition.

Ardara proposed a return to the previously used format of the top two teams in Division One playing off in a league final to decide the Division One League champions. The committee agreed on a vote of 33 to 24 to stay with the status quo, with the team that tops the league table at the end of the season declared the champions.

An existing regulation obliging clubs for championship fixtures to supply a team to the host club’s PRO at least two days prior to game for inclusion in a programme was deleted.

Prior to the discussion on the regulations county chairman Sean Dunnion, outlined that the National GAA Advisory Committee in Croke Park had advised that the county could have no regulation that would restrict the Competitions Control Committee in the fixing of games and running of fixtures.

Meanwhile a regulation calling on the county executive to come up with a new criteria for the allocation of tickets for Ulster and All-Ireland finals where Donegal were participants, was passed.

This regulation was passed on the casting vote of the chairman the chairman after the committee vote at 22/22 ended in stalemate.

An existing regulation relating to the allocation of All-Ireland final tickets to members of the 1992 All-Ireland winning team was amended to read ‘of reasonable quality, after hearing the ‘92 winners were stuck in a confined space way up at the back of the Cusack Stand.

It was also agreed on Monday night to set up a sub-committee to review underage football structures in the county,

In all there were 21 regulations up for discussion, six were passed, six were ruled out of order, two received no seconder, four were lost and three were withdrawn.