GAA Football

Five top flight games in Derry postponed after pressure from Derry County Board

Damian Barton is preparing his Derry side for next Saturday's Qualifier against Mayo

SOME Derry clubs have chosen to postpone their games this weekend amid a row over the availability of inter-county players.

Others have chosen to go ahead with their games minus their county players after the county's CCC was forced to intervene amid pressure from clubs on players to play this weekend.

CCC emailed clubs on Tuesday night to say games would have to be postponed if clubs refused to stand by an agreement over 'B' games.

Clubs were given the choice of playing their games this weekend without county players, or postponing them until July 26.

Three of the eight proposed Division One games will go ahead after clubs agreed to play without county players, but the other five have been postponed after those clubs failed to reach agreement.

Following a review of club fixtures in the county prior to the start of the 2016 season, a new system of 'A' and 'B' games was devised.

Much like a starred game system, clubs are guaranteed their county players for 'A' games but may not be for 'B' games.

The top eight teams from last year play each other, while the bottom eight face off in the 'A' games so to as to minimise the impact on clubs either chasing the league title or trying to escape relegation.

This weekend's club games were listed as 'B' games from the beginning of the season but with clubs now finding themselves under pressure towards the end of the league, some have decided to renege on the agreement.

Derry play Mayo in round 2A of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifying series ?next Saturday? but because this weekend's games were set for Saturday, they fall outside the 6-day window of exemption for county players from club duty.

"This leaves a situation where hundreds of club players get no football because of pressure on a few to play," read Derry CCC's email.

The next few rounds of club games are scheduled to be 'B' games and the fixtures body says county players will not be available until their clubs until Derry's All-Ireland campaign ends.

However, having blasted his captain Enda Lynn for playing in a club game and aggravating a hamstring injury last prior to the win over Waterford, Damian Barton saw several of his stars play club hurling last night, 10 days before the trip to Castlebar.

Mark Lynch, Chrissy McKaigue, Karl McKaigue and Brendan Rogers all featured for their clubs ?on Wednesday night?.

A restructure of club hurling in the county means that certain games count towards seeding for the championship draw. This week's games were among those.

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