GAA Football

McEniff says Croke Park missed a great chance to solve club v county crisis

Donegal legend Brian McEniff
Gerry McLaughlin

Donegal’s most senior GAA figure has hit out at Croke Park-saying they missed a “great chance” of solving the county versus club conundrum-at least for this year.

Croke Park has warned all county boards and team managers that they could be facing the threat of suspension if their county is caught training before the starting date of September 14.

The threat was issued in a conference call between GAA top brass and county chairmen from all over the country.

And the idea of some clubs informing on players who are training with the county in this period has been met with a mixture of rage and incredulity.

But Brian McEniff believes that all the hullabaloo could have been avoided if the GAA had agreed to play all county matches first.

He added that they should also have made the All-Ireland competition an Open Draw-cutting out the provincial championships in an exceptional year.

The former all-Ireland winning manager believes the two outstanding NFL matches could have gone ahead, starting on the first week of games July 18/19.

“We had a great chance also to also run off the All-Ireland championship in an Open Draw format for this year.

"In three weeks time, they would have been down to the last four and that would have allowed 28 counties to begin their club programmes.

"That way we would have avoided the aggravation of this club versus county," says McEniff.

"They have missed a great chance. Indeed, the local club leagues could have been started at the same time without county players."

As it is McEniff feels that county panels should be available to the manager one night a week to prepare for the return to training in September.

"I think it is a wee bit tight on county teams to not have any training until September," said McEniff, who had doubts that all counties would adhere to the regulations.

McEniff added that he is warming to the idea of Donegal playing Tyrone in Croke Park and because of the nature of the Ulster championship, should Donegal advance, he would be in favour of his county playing the semi-final and Ulster final also in Croker.

"It would be a blow to lose home advantage but I would be looking at possibly Donegal playing Tyrone, then Armagh, then Monaghan, all in Croke Park before meeting Dublin there in the All-Ireland semi-final."

Meanwhile, a leading Donegal GAA official has stood down from his position.

Tir Conaill Hurling Board Secretary Paddy Lennon made the announcement at a Donegal CCC meeting.

It is understood he stood down as he disagreed over aspects of the fixtures schedule for hurling clubs in the county.

When contacted he confirmed that he had resigned from the position he has held for the past few years.

But he declined to comment further on the matter saying the background was internal to the GAA in the county.

When contacted, county board chairman Mick McGrath also declined to comment on the matter.

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GAA Football