GAA calls on Donegal to explain fixture schedule
DONEGAL officials have been summoned to Croke Park to discuss their controversial local championship schedule for 2014 in what some believe will be a test case for future handling of club fixtures, writes Cliona Foley.
Donegal clubs, after meetings with the county senior football manager Jim McGuinness, voted to defer all senior club championship action next year until after the end of the county's All-Ireland campaign.
The vexed question of club schedules – particularly long delays instigated by county managements that leave regular club players unsure of their summer schedule and then create a glut of matches to be played off in quick succession – is a constant thorn in the GAA's side.
It is an issue regularly raised by the GAA's Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee and the Donegal chairman and secretary have been called in on foot of a formal complaint from this committee.
County chairman Sean Dunnion said he was "very surprised" at the development and insisted that Donegal have broken no rules. He pointed out that the decision was taken by all of the county's senior and intermediate clubs, who rejected an initial proposal to play at least one or two rounds in April and May.
Donegal will be arguing that many other counties also defer local games until their inter-county campaigns are finished.
But it appears their decision to formally vote on, and agree, such a deferred schedule appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back.
How Croke Park now handles the Donegal situation is seen as a test case for player welfare, especially for the regular club players who are left for long periods without any competitive matches.