Tyrone scrap plans for double-headers during week-long Championship run
TYRONE GAA has scrapped plans to stage seven double bills during a week-long programme of Championship ties.
All but one of the first round games in the LCC Group Senior Championship had been scheduled to be part of double-headers at six different venues.
But in a major review of the schedule, it has been decided that the first round ties will now be played as stand-alone fixtures.
The move was prompted by concerns over crowd restrictions, with just 400 people, including players and officials, permitted to attend sports events in the six counties.
"With the current crowd restrictions, to take four teams to the same venue would mean the clubs involved would have virtually no supporters present," said Martin Sludden, chairman of the Tyrone Competitions Control Committee.
"When you take the players, the match officials, the stewards, the media, there wasn't going to be much capacity left for the four clubs."
Last month, Brian McAvoy, secretary of the Ulster Council, advised against the staging of double bills across the province due to the crowd restriction issue, but stressed that individual decisions are a matter for each county.
The first Tyrone Championship tie of the season is the JFC preliminary round meeting of Drumquin and Fintona, which takes place on Wednesday August 12
The dates for the first round games in the Senior Championship remain the same, with some changes to throw-in times, and the series will get under way on Thursday August 13 with the tie of the round between derby rivals Coalisland and Clonoe.
Live streaming of some of the games will go some way towards giving supporters access to the action from the Tyrone SFC, which is widely acknowledged as the most competitive in Ulster, and is still played in its traditional straight knock-out format.
The IFC ties which were originally planned as curtain-raisers have been put back by a week.
Most will be stand-along fixtures, but one double bill has been pencilled in for Healy Park.
Sludden explained: "We would be hoping that further down the line, over the next few weeks, there might be movement in terms of increasing the numbers of spectators allowed into grounds, and Healy Park is a big venue where it would be easier to accommodate a larger crowd."
The changes in the Championship schedule will mean a knock-on effect for the League fixtures programme.
"The League fixtures will have to be rearranged due to the changes in the Championship games, as we have a tight time-frame to work within."
Revised LCC Group Tyrone Championship fixtures:
Wed Aug 12
JFC: Drumquin v Fintona (Drumragh, 7.30)
Thurs Aug 13
SFC: Clonoe v Coalisland (Edendork, 7.15)
Fri Aug 14
SFC: Killyclogher v Carrickmore (Omagh, 7.45)
Sat Aug 15
SFC: Loughmacrory v Dungannon (Galbally, 4.30)
SFC: Ardboe v Donaghmore (Coalisland, 7.00)
Sun Aug 16:
SFC: Omagh v Dromore (Loughmacrory, 4.30)
SFC: Moy v Derrylaughan (Dungannon, 2.00)
SFC: Errigal Ciaran v Pomeroy (Carrickmore, 7.00)
Mon Aug 17
SFC: Galbally v Trillick (Omagh, 8.00)
Friday Aug 21
IFC Aghaloo v Aghyaran (Omagh, 7.00)
IFC: Tattyreagh v Strabane (Omagh, 8.30)
Sat Aug 22
IFC: Greencastle v Stewartstown (Galbally, 4.30)
IFC: Rock v Moortown (Coalisland, 7.00)
Sunday Aug 23
IFC: Naomh Eoghan v Eglish (Carrickmore, 2.00)
IFC: Augher v Beragh (Loughmacory, 4.30)
IFC: Clogher v Edendork (Dungannon, 4.30)
IFC: Owen Roes v Gortin (Naomh Eoghan, 7.00).