Twiss urges clubs to consider the CCC proposals carefully in the weeks ahead

Peter Twiss, Secretary of the Kerry County Board. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Peter Twiss, Secretary of the Kerry County Board. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Jason O'Connor

Last Friday evening in The Rose Hotel, Tralee saw Kerry GAA host a Club Fixtures Forum, the first part of mapping out the future of the adult fixture programme in the county in response to the changes made to the National Fixture Programme at inter-county level for a three year trial period beginning in 2018.

Stressing that the gathering was a discussion and consultation process and not a decision making meeting, County Secretary Peter Twiss spoke of the County Executive's satisfaction with how matters went last Friday.

"We had about 100 present and there was a good cross section between the various different people involved in clubs along with the district boards.

"Delegates were presented with proposals and asked to go back to their clubs with them for discussion and we hope the meeting will form the basis for the County Committee's Competition motions meeting on Monday, November 27," Mr Twiss said.

While no formal decisions were taken Mr Twiss said there was a broad consensus amongst the forum that the club and county championship competitions needed to be disentangled from each other in terms of when they are played.

Delegates were asked to consider a proposal from the CCC that the club championship competitions be started and completed in the period in between the conclusion of the league and the start of che Championship and that the format be changed to a round robin system with the group winners where applicable advancing the semi-finals.

With seven weeks for such championship fixtures available from the second weekend in April until the weekend of May 20 (Kerry's Championship campaign begins on the June Bank Holiday Weekend next year) five weekends at least would be required to play the club championships off to a conclusion, an increase of one round from the present straight knock-out format which in the case of 16 teams requires four rounds to complete.

Mr Twiss said it was a proposal that found a lot of favour.

"It would be up to the competition motions meeting to nail down the nuts and bolts of it but the CCC generally runs formats on the wishes of the clubs so we have asked those who were at the meeting to go back to their clubs and ask them to consider it," he said of the proposed changes to the club championships.

The County Secretary also said that it is not set in stone that the Senior County Championship will not start until after Kerry have concluded their All-Ireland campaign, saying that it is a matter that must go through the upcoming competitions meeting before a start date is agreed.

There was strong agreement with the suggestion of reverting the minor grade to Under 17 level in the county like the change that will be happening at inter-county level next year although there will still be an Under 21 Championship within the county despite the inter-county change to Under 20 at that level.

Mr Twiss said it's a change that will be considered further down the line.

"We feel bringing in too many changes next year would be the wrong thing to do and we want to see how the ones we want to introduce next year fare out before we consider anything else," Mr Twiss said.

District Board fixtures were not discussed in the main at the forum, but Mr Twiss said that streamlining and possibly amalgamating junior fixtures at district and county board levels was discussed.

"We would be like to look at issues like removing semi-finals from junior league competitions and the playing of extra-time in all games where it is needed and we feel that the county and district boards could do a better job of running junior fixtures if there is an amalgamation of the different competitions between county and district at junior level.

"It's something we need to take a further look at however down the line and do a proper audit on the number of junior games that are actually being played," he commented.

Following on from last Friday's forum the competitions meeting in November has been put back a week from November 20 to November 27 to give clubs time to discuss what came out of the forum and Mr Twiss urged delegates to consult with their clubs prior to the same meeting.

"We asked everyone to go back to their clubs and inform them of what was discussed on the night and ask them to bring whatever feedback - good or bad - to the meeting itself on the 27th when decisions are made.

"It's important that everyone has their say on the night because clubs must be committed to whatever is passed on the night as the CCC will set up the conditions for everything from there."

With the change of date for the competitions meeting, a new closing date for motions of Friday, November 17 has been set in advance of November 27, however, the deadline for motions and nominations for the annual convention in December remains this Friday, November 10 Mr Twiss was anxious to stress.