GAA Football

Armagh 'open to suggestions' on moving club games away from Sunday

Rory Grugan's club Ballymacnab will put a recommendation to Armagh's convention next month that all men's senior football club games be moved to Friday or Saturday evenings.

ARMAGH chairman Mickey Savage says the county is “open to all suggestions” after county forward Rory Grugan reiterated his call for club games to move to Friday or Saturday evenings.

Grugan confirmed that his club Ballymacnab have made the recommendation to the county’s upcoming annual convention, which will be held on December 16.

As it would ultimately be a matter for the county’s CCC, it is presented as a recommendation rather than a motion, meaning clubs don’t have the power to formally introduce change, but could take a show of hands to indicate support.

Savage did however admit that their hands could be somewhat tied by the county’s vibrant ladies’ football scene having long played its fixtures on Saturday evenings.

The Armagh chairman also revealed that a motion will go forward proposing the minor grade in the county becomes U18.5, which will add to the debate over Silverbridge’s push to return to U18 that Savage believes will “carry weight in Armagh”.

On the subject of moving club games away from Sundays, Grugan yesterday tweeted: “Speaking of the power of twitter, our club is bringing a motion to the Armagh GAA convention to move all club league games to either a Friday or Saturday night for the 2022 season and beyond. So if you're a club player in Armagh and want to see this change, speak to your delegate and ensure they support it #TimeForChange.”

It’s the second time this year the former county captain has appealed for the change, having called for the same move back in June, when he said Sunday games were leaving players feeling like they were spending “a whole weekend waiting on a Sunday 3pm game”.

Their neighbours in Down have long played their club games on Friday nights, while summer club games in Tyrone moved en-masse to that slot for the first time in 2021.

While Grugan said that his preference for Saturday night games was to “avoid the managers who would train every Sunday morning after a Friday night game”, he tweeted Armagh LFGA chairperson Sinead Reel that “most people would be happy for them to be Friday (anything but Sunday!)”.

Reel had replied to Grugan’s original tweet saying that Saturday nights “have always been Armagh LGFA league/championship fixtures, we would hope that our GAA counterparts would keep that in mind. Logistically this would be a nightmare with the ever-growing numbers in our game for pitches and officials.”

While there was some suggestion, notably from Grugan’s county team-mate Ethan Rafferty, of potential double-headers of ladies’ and men’s games, county chairman Savage suggested that Friday would be the more likely option.

“Our problem with Saturday games, and I saw Sinead Reel came back to Rory on it, is that our ladies’ games are on a Saturday evening,” said Savage.

“We ran our U19s last year on Friday nights so we’d have to find some place for them.

“We do play some [senior] games on a Friday night. Where possible we do try it. We also leave it up to the clubs and if they want to change, the CCC will always accommodate them.

“I’ve sons of my own here playing football and I listen to them as well, they want to play football on Friday nights as well. It seems to be the popular thing.

“We’ll certainly look at it. We’ll have to look at where we would put the U19s, would it be every other Wednesday night with reserve football the other weeks, or do we move them to Sunday?

“We fix a lot of our games for Sundays because, like all other counties, referees are scarce as well. And then you have the pitches for the ladies on a Saturday as well.

“We’re open to all suggestions, there’s no doubt about that.

“It’s been kicked about all year. I think Rory was tweeting about it earlier in the season as well. It’s definitely one we’d look at.”

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GAA Football