Ed Byrne, the Donegal CCC secretary
The secretary of the Donegal CCC (Competitions Control Committee) has said there is “a case for revisiting” conversations about the formats involved in the various reserve leagues in the county.
Ed Byrne says options must be discussed and has invited clubs to have their say on the matter after a campaign riddled with no-shows. This season, 31 reserves matches across the three divisions were uncontested, including 20 alone since June Bank Holiday weekend - with the issues primarily in the Division 1B and Division 2B.
During the 2020 season, leagues were regionalised and Byrne feels this offers the best chance of revitalising the competitions, while there is also an option of neighbouring clubs joining forces if struggling for numbers.
“We might well see regionalisations or amalgamations, or maybe even splitting the days reserve and senior football is played,” he said. “Since the pandemic we have reassessed and I don’t know if it will continue in its current guise. Would playing some fixtures in midweek work? Less travel and more local derbies? There is certainly a case for revisiting discussions.”
Certain clubs facing huge journeys - using the most extreme case as an example, the distance from Naomh Columba in Glencolmcille to Malin is 146 kilometres, a drive of two hours 20 minutes one way - with the the teams meeting in a reserve and senior fixture usually starting 90 minutes a apart.
“For some clubs in this day and age, it’s cheaper to pay the fine (€100 for not fielding in a reserve fixture and €250 for a senior game) than travel and a lot of reserve players are students,” Byrne added. “Petrol is not cheap if players travel by car, nor is the rental of a bus for the day if the club opt to take to the road by bus.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.