Derry clubs to vote again tonight on club structures for 2024

Dejected Glenullin players following their defeat to Ballyhaise                            Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Going up? Glenullin could be granted their wish to play in this year's Derry SFC if a vote at Owenbeg goes in their favour tonight. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

DERRY clubs are set to vote yet again tonight on the structure of club competitions in the county as the debate over it rumbles on.

It was agreed at a meeting in January to press ahead with proposals that had been put in place last year to move to a 12-team senior football championship and a 14-team senior league.

A number of clubs have objected to different parts of the proposals.

Back-to-back intermediate champions Glenullin told The Irish News last month that they were considering legal action against Derry GAA in a bid to be allowed to step up to senior.

Glenullin chairman Dan Mullan described the situation as “farcical” and “unjust”.

Having voted two months ago to proceed with the planned restructures, a number of clubs subsequently asked CCC to revisit it again, feeling that an alternative proposal should have been put forward as part of the decision-making process.

Thus the clubs will be given an opportunity to change their minds at another meeting in Owenbeg this evening.

They will be presented with three options.

The first is to remain as was voted for in January, with 12 team senior and intermediate championships and 13 teams at junior, alongside leagues of 14 (senior), 13 (intermediate) and 10 (junior).

Option Two is to go with what was voted for in January and then change to a 16-team senior league and championship in 2025, with 12 teams at intermediate and nine at junior.

The third option is to move straight to both a 16-team senior league and championship for this season, with 12 at intermediate and nine teams at junior in 2024.

In all cases, league and championship will be decoupled, with separate promotion and relegation in both competitions.

Clubs have been informed that if they vote for option three, they will need to agree themselves on the mechanism for deciding which teams play in which competitions.

That would appear to open the door to Glenullin being allowed to take part in a 16-team senior championship, which appears likely to be the preferred option.

One of the concerns has also been the imbalance within the bottom division, with a number of clubs at the bottom fearing the impact of having five teams parachuted down from last year’s intermediate championship into this year’s junior championship.

Fixtures have already been published for the year, with Division One due to start on April 5.

Option One: Remain as is for 2024, with 12-team SFC, 12-team IFC and 13-team JFC to run alongside leagues of 14 (senior), 13 (intermediate) and 10 (junior) teams respectively
Option Two: Remain as is for 2024 and change in 2025 to a 16-teams SFC and Division One, 12-team IFC and Division Two, and 9-team JFC and Division Three
Option Three: Change immediately to a 16-teams SFC and Division One, 12-team IFC and Division Two, and 9-team JFC and Division Three for 2024