Tyrone to axe penalties and extra-time from this year’s club football championships

All rounds of the 2024 edition of the competition will have replays decide the game and not finish-on-the-day protocols

Ciaran Barker from Dungannon on his elbows and knees after missing a penalty in the Tyrone SFC final in 2020
Dungannon's Ciaran Barker misses during the penalty shootout. Picture by Seamus Loughran (seamus loughran)

Extra-time and penalty shoot-outs are to be axed from Tyrone Championship ties this year.

Replays will be reinstated in all rounds for the 2024 series in a departure from the finish-on-the-day protocol employed over the past four seasons.

But there’s still a guarantee of high drama, with the Red Hand county sticking with its traditional straight knock-out format.

“We’re a very traditional county and it was one of the big things that came back, that we’re definitely a county that’s against penalties, and I suppose most people in the GAA are against that,” said Tyrone Competitions Control Committee chairman Raymond Monteith.

A partial move away from extra time was made last year when replays were reintroduced from the quarter-final stage onwards, but now the CCC has decided it’s time to revert fully to the provision of a second day out for teams that finish level.

“Last year we only had one game, in the first round, because we had just that one-week break.

“This year, we’re allowing for the two weeks, which gives us the replays, and I don’t think anybody will have any objections.”

Defending champions Trillick have more experience than most of the drama of penalty shoot-outs, having lost the 2020 county final drama to Dungannon in spot kick agony, and revisiting the situation last season when taken to extra-time and penalties by Loughmacrory.

On that occasion, they survived the first-round test and went on to win the O’Neill Cup.

Shane Mc Partland shows his frustration after seeing his penalty saved by Donegal's Shaun Patton at the end of Sunday's Ulster final. Picture by Philip Walsh
Shane Mc Partland shows his frustration after seeing his penalty saved by Donegal's Shaun Patton at the end of this year's Ulster final. Picture by Philip Walsh

The possibility of extra time and penalties remains, in the case of replays, with Monteith explaining that time constraints demand that the championships are completed on schedule.

“We have no other option at the moment, because we don’t have the time-frame, and obviously the Tyrone Championship has to work back from the Ulster Club Championship.

“Unfortunately, all Tyrone winners this year, Senior, Intermediate and Junior, will be playing in the preliminary round of the Ulster Club Championship.”

The championships are due to begin in September, but league football has been under way for the past few weeks, with the emergence of a handful of the less famous clubs setting the pace, including joint leaders Pomeroy, Galbally, Donaghmore and Edendork.

“I don’t think it’s any surprise. If you look at the competitive nature of our championship, and of our league, it’s probably the most competitive league in the 32 counties.”

And with just five starred rounds of league games, when clubs have to play without their county players, it will become even more competitive in the weeks ahead.

Trillick won their ninth Tyrone SFC title after last month's final win over Errigal Ciaran
Trillick won their ninth Tyrone SFC title after last month's final win over Errigal Ciaran

“When you look at the Armagh league, for example, it’s at round nine, but no county players have been involved.

“The one thing about the clubs here, and the supporters as well, they do deserve to see their own best players playing with their own club, and that’s what makes that league so competitive.”

Friday night football, introduced three years ago to replace the traditional Sunday afternoon slot, continues, and the CCC chairman revealed that the feedback on the move has been nothing but positive.

“It’s one of the things that has definitely come back to us very strongly, that it’s a win-win.

“The people love Friday night football, the players love Friday night football, and I think managers love it as well.

“I think most clubs that are playing on a Friday night are probably doing something on a Sunday morning with the players.

“There are going to be periods over the summer, when we will have a number of games to fit in in August, where we will probably be playing midweek and Sundays as well.”