By Seamus Hayes
LAST Sunday’s All-Ireland senior hurling draw has left the county’s domestic fixtures schedule in turmoil.
Paying tribute to the county senior squad and the management under Davy Fitzgerald, county board chairman Michael McDonagh told a special meeting of Clare GAA on Tuesday night, “We have a plan but it will mean sacrifices and if these aren’t made then there is a different dilemna. We can get there”.
Padraic Boland, a member of the committee that drew up the masters fixture plan back in February, told delegates that completing the domestic competitions in time for the provincial championship depends on which clubs progress and on co-operation. “It has to be taken round by round and clubs will have to accept short notice,” he added.
County secretary Pat Fitzgerald noted, “Every game will have to be played to a conclusion. It will take a lot of sacrifices if we are to meet the deadline. With the senior hurling, our backs are to the wall and it might require some clubs playing every five days”.
Coaching and games officer Eamon Fennessy, representing Scariff, said his club would not be in a position to play mid-week as a key member of the team is based overseas.
Newmarket’s Michael Clancy added “There is no way it can be played. There are five rounds left in the hurling championship from October 6 to November 10”. He told the chairman “ye have put nothing on the table. Ye have no plan”.
In response to Kilmaley’s Niall Romer, who asked what are the consequences if Clare don’t make the Munster Club Championship deadline, Fitzgerald noted “there are sanctions”.
Romer asked “Are we looking after our club players? This is wrong. We should forget about the Munster club”.
Clare is to make an application to the provincial council for an extension of time for the Senior Hurling Championship
Bord na nÓg chairman Martin Reynolds asked for consideration to be given to Bord na nÓg fixtures, as they want to conclude the Minor A and B Championships and require weekend dates, as many players are in college all over the country.
Éire Óg chairman Pat Daly told the meeting that his club had four dual senior players and five players based in Dublin and will not be able to fulfil mid-week fixtures.
Clonlara manager Donal Madden added “To expect Cratloe to play football on a Tuesday and then play hurling at the weekend is a disgrace”.
Michael McDonagh said he would facilitate another meeting in mid-October to review progress in the various competitions.
Broadford’s Danny Chaplin asked the meeting to review the relegation process for this year and he proposed a change, for this year only, with only one team to be relegated. In the format introduced last year, five teams were to be relegated at the end of this year’s championship. It was seconded by Eamon Fennessy.
Clondegad’s Seamus O’Reilly objected strongly to a change in the competition format mid-season.
Pat Fitzgerald agreed that O’Reilly had a genuine concern and he confirmed that a two-thirds majority would be needed in the event of Chaplin’s proposal being put to a vote.
O’Reilly proposed that there would be no change, seconded by Michael Clancy (Newmarket). The vote was 34 to 3 in favour of Chaplin’s amendment.
During this discussion, Michael Lee (Tubber) suggested that a new championship format should be considered, similar to what is in Galway at present.
Concluding the discussion, board treasurer Bernard Keane said, “It is our right to take part in the Munster championship and we have five or six clubs that have teams capable of giving it a good rattle. The clubs of this county have been very supportive over recent weeks and I am asking them to think outside the box one more time”.
ROUND three of the Intermediate Hurling Championship will take place on Sunday, September 22 with the exception of the game between Whitegate and Corofin.
In order to progress this championship with a view to meeting the deadline for Munster club action, delegates were asked to agree to a specific format for the play-off for the fourth semi-final spot.
There are three groups and the winners of each go into the semi-finals. The three runners-up will then play off for the fourth semi-final spot.
The meeting was asked to agree to a format whereby the runners up in Groups 2 and 3 will play the first play-off game, with the winners then meeting the runners-up in Group 1. This is the group that includes Whitegate, whose games are behind schedule because of Brendan Bugler’s involvement with the county.
There was no objection to this at Tuesday’s meeting.