THE two outstanding matches in the 2021 North East Football League season will now proceed after the league’s own novel proposals to settle the outstanding relegation/promotion issues were appealed to the Leinster FA by Dundalk side Bay FC.
The 2021 season officially ended on January 15th after an extension had already been granted to the League to finish competitions, but Covid and other issues prevented the First Division tie between Kentstown Rovers and Chord Celtic from being played for the right to meet top-flight side Bay to decide who will compete in the Premier Division next season.
As a result the League committee came up with a formula to try in a “ fair and balanced” way to resolve the crux. This was to put the three teams in a pre-ordained group in the new-season Kilmessan Shield competition starting in March, with the winner earning the prize of playing in the top division next season, as well as advancing in the competition.
However, Bay were extremely unhappy with that arrangement and appealed on a number of grounds and the Leinster FA’s response has been to give the NEFL permission to fulfil the outstanding games from 2021.
The Leinster FA stressed that this was not a further full season extension beyond January 16th, meaning all 2021 registered players with the exception of those registered with Bay, Chord Celtic and Kentstown Rovers are free agents as per FAI rules.
Kentstown will host Chord this coming Sunday at noon in the remaining Division 1 fixture, with the home side needing a draw to qualify for the promotion play-off and Chord requiring a win.
The successful team will go on to play Bay in Dundalk in the play-off decider on Sunday week.
Meanwhile, the NEFL agm will take place next Tuesday, with outgoing chairman David Tully, registrar Damien Smith, and executive committee members Brian McCreary, Mark McGuinness and Stephen McCabe all declaring their intention to stand down from their current positions and not make themselves available for any other roles.
Several people have been nominated or have expressed an interested in joining the committee and they are Ger Lynch (unattached), Conrad Clinton (Ardee Celtic), Yvonne Brady (Women’s Committee), Pat Matthews (Kells Celtic Youths) and John Campbell (Abbey Celtic).
The 2022 season will kick off on the week ending March 13th with the group stages of the Kilmessan and O’Neill shield competitions, run over three consecutive weekends.
The main leagues in all divisions will then begin on the week ending April 3rd.