Monday 25 March 2019

Championship format is up for discussion again

Meath GAA: county committee

Sean Wall

It's decision time for the clubs of the county when delegates gather for the first Meath GAA County Board meeting of the year next Monday at 7.30pm in Dunganny.

Before them for discussion will be the latest set of proposals to change the format of the club championships prior to the start of the 2019 Meath club season.

Some of the proposals are similar to those put forward by the Competitions Review Committee in recent seasons. Three years ago a number of the proposals were passed but subsequently rejected by clubs after they were revisited at a later meeting.

Then 12 months ago clubs were given further time to consider whether to implement changes put forward jointly by the Dunboyne and St Brigid's clubs. However, the proposals were firmly rejected at a special gathering two weeks later.

They are back on the table for discussion, with some tweaking it has to be said, and this time it is likely that they will be met with a favourable response from clubs.

The proposals affecting the structures of championships are being put forward by the Meath County Committee and over the past number of months club officials were invited to meetings to air their views on the best way forward, while club players also had an opportunity to express their views at a separate gathering.

If proposals to change the senior and intermediate football championships are passed then three teams from the senior championship will be relegated to the intermediate ranks at the end of the 2019 season.

Teams that finish fifth and sixth in each of the three groups in the SFC will play one relegation match and the losers of the three games will be relegated.

There is also a proposal that there be no relegation from the IFC at the end of the 2019 season and that two teams (first teams) be promoted from the Junior ranks to bring the grade up to 20 teams.

Second teams competing in the IFC would be regraded for 2020 to a new Premier A Club Football Championship.

All first-team clubs in the Junior B Football Championship 2019 shall be graded up to the Junior Championship in 2020, unless they apply to be regraded to the Premier Club Football competition.

There is also a proposal for a District Senior Football Championship from 2020 on. It shall contain at least eight independent teams from clubs in the intermediate and junior championships and will commence after the intermediate and junior finals are completed.

Additionally, it is proposed that the Feis Cup, Corn na Boinne and Tailteann Cup competitions be played as a pre-season competition in groups of four or less.

There are also proposals for changes to the intermediate and junior hurling championships to bring them into line with the format for the SHC.

Separately, the Dunshaughlin club are proposing that the home team provide three balls for all home games in League, Feis Cup, Corn na Bóinne, Tailteann Cup and Brendan Davis Cup matches. In all other games each team shall provide at least one ball and the County Committee shall supply same in championship finals. The ball shall be presented to the captain of the winning team.

Eight club officials shall be admitted to the sideline where their club is engaged in Championship, League, Feis Cup, Corn na Bóinne, Tailteann Cup and Brendan Davis Cup matches.

Donaghmore/Ashbourne are proposing that the rate for referees' expenses be reviewed by the Meath CCC and Meath finance committee each year and that the proposals be forwarded to management and ratified by the county committee at the start of each year.

Drogheda Independent