Tyrone county committee call for players outside matchday 26 to be released to clubs

Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan have seen their resources decimated by withdrawals since winning the 2021 All-Ireland title.
Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan have seen their resources decimated by withdrawals since winning the 2021 All-Ireland title. Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan have seen their resources decimated by withdrawals since winning the 2021 All-Ireland title.

A RECOMMENDATION from Tyrone’s county committee is calling for players who are not named in the county footballers’ 26-man matchday squad to be released to their clubs on the given weekend.

They are also recommending that everyone on the Tyrone football panel as named at a committee meeting next March shall be ineligible for starred games unless they are omitted from a matchday squad by management.

The intention behind that stipulation is to alleviate a situation of players leaving the county squad, which would currently make them eligible for their clubs’ starred games.

Players who leave the county squad permanently would be ineligible, but those that remain and are left out of the 26 by Tyrone would be allowed to play with their club.

Tyrone’s starred game system sees clubs play up to five of their 15 league games without their county players, who are then eligible for the other ten.

Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan have seen their squad decimated by withdrawals since the 2021 All-Ireland success, with the suggestion being that the lack of any game time for fringe players with either Tyrone or their club was a primary factor.

Down boss Conor Laverty and Antrim's Andy McEntee were widely praised last year for releasing players to their clubs throughout the season.

Eglish club have lodged a similar motion for debate at next week’s annual convention, calling on all players not listed in matchday panels to be allowed to play with their club.

Omagh St Enda’s are seeking for a sub-committee to be formed that will consider “alternatives to straight knockout championships at adult level”, while Loughmacrory – who lost on penalties to eventual winners Trillick in the first round – want the season schedule altered to allow for replays at that stage.

Tyrone moved away from penalty shootouts from the quarter-finals onward this year but kept them in play for the first round, with Loughmacrory falling victim.

Meanwhile, Antrim’s annual convention last night passed a motion calling for the Leinster SHC and Joe McDonagh Cup to be combined.

Club delegates voted in favour of the motion, put forward by Glen Rovers Armoy, and it will now be moved on towards the floor of Annual Congress.

The motion calls for Leinster to be expanded to ten teams, namely the six currently involved and the top four in the Joe McDonagh Cup, split up across two groups of five.

It’s proposed that the top two in each group qualify for the Leinster semi-finals, with third placed teams going into the Joe McDonagh semi-finals and those in fourth and fifth playing off for the other two semi-final spots.

The two teams beaten in those playoffs would then meet each other, with the loser relegated to the Christy Ring Cup.

Its inception year would see the top four from the previous year’s McDonagh Cup incorporated in the new 10-team Leinster championship, with the bottom two from the existing second tier dropping into the Christy Ring.

Fermanagh’s convention also passed a motion from Tempo that calls for the All-Ireland minor finals to be returned to their tradition place as a curtain-raiser to the senior finals.

The minor deciders have been moved away from All-Ireland day since the grade officially became a ‘development’ grade after its change to U17.

This year’s final, in which Derry overcame Monaghan, was played in Armagh’s Box-It Athletic Grounds, on July 9, a week before the same two counties played in senior All-Ireland semi-finals against Kerry and Dublin respectively.

A second motion that will go to the Ulster GAA convention calls to adopt the same safeguards around the preliminary round as adopted at inter-county level in recent years, whereby a county cannot be drawn in the opening fixture for two years after appearing there.

The motion comes from Derrygonnelly, who have played in the preliminary round of the Ulster Club SFC four times since 2015, including this year against Kilcoo.

The new rule wouldn’t have saved them that gig as their previous appearance had been in 2019 against Cargin, but that wouldn’t have happened as they’d been beaten by Scotstown at the same stage the year before.

Elsewhere, the dispute over the Tyrone minor football championship is set to rumble into the new year, with the Red Hand county board having officially pulled out of having representation at this year’s St Paul’s Ulster minor tournament.

St Paul’s were informed this morning of the final decision, which has arisen as Dromore have taken appeals over their expulsion having declined to take part in a penalty shootout with Trillick after the sides were inseparable after extra-time in early September.

That was at the quarter-final stage and the championship has been frozen since, with no apparent hope of resolution this side of Christmas.

St Paul’s were due to play the winners themselves but now progress to face Mayobridge. The tournament begins this Saturday with a double-header of Clan na Gael v Castleblayney and Four Masters v Magherafelt.