THE losers of the Clondegad v Wolfe Tones second round losers game on Sunday in Clarecastle will have to face into playing a relegation semi-final against Liscannor.
That stark fact will be to the forefront of both clubs thinking ahead of Sunday’s game, which has been held up for several weeks. Wolfe Tones cited the absence of Aaron Cunningham, due to his senior hurling commitments, as the reason why they couldn’t play, while at a county board meeting earlier this summer, Clondegad pointed to the fact that Tony Kelly and Paul Flanagan are also tied up with the senior hurlers.
Clondegad lost their first round game to Éire Óg while Wolfe Tones were comprehensively beaten by Kilkee. It’s difficult to predict a winner given that neither club has any recent form line to go on. However, Wolfe Tones have more experience of playing senior football and perhaps that might edge the result in their favour.
The prize for the winners is a meeting with the losers of Cooraclare v Cratloe.
The winners of that will eventually make a quarter-final sometime next year. The latter comment is of course an attempt at humour but the masters fixtures plan has blown up in the faces of the Clare County Board and Clare clubs who mandated it.
As far back as February 22, Cratloe manager Colm Collins had the following to say, when he spoke to The Clare Champion about an impending vote on the master fixtures plan.
“I think it’s vital that we play one round of both codes in May. It’s the only way that you have any chance at all. If the plan is accepted as it is presented now, delegates better be prepared for the possibility of not having Clare representation in the Munster club competitions,” Collins warned.
“Last year four or five of our players had to play three championship games in eight days. The same thing could possibly occur this year. We’ve made it clear, as a club, that we’re not going to bail them (county board) out. They made the mistake themselves the first year. If they’re not going to correct it, they’re not going to be bailed out,” the former Clare U-21 manager predicted.
“They made a mistake last year. Cratloe bailed them out by playing three championship games in the same week. Unbelievably they’re going back to the same format again. It’s beyond belief to my mind, after the mess that was made last year, that they’re coming back with exactly the same mistake,” he reiterated.
Collins also predicted that no allowance has been made in the proposed masters fixtures list for draws or for county teams reaching the latter stages of their respective All-Ireland series.
“Anybody that has studied the schedule in detail will realise that there is no provision for a draw, a postponement or for success, which we hope we will have in U-21 hurling or with our senior teams. The football starts in August and if you’re a dual club, you could be playing every weekend up to the county final.
“There isn’t a hope if any dual club is doing well, that we’re going to have Munster club representatives. It’s just not going to happen. It’s unbelievable to me that the football isn’t played in May. That would mean that every intermediate and junior player can play their championships. They’re going to compress all of the football and most of the hurling championships into two and a half months,” he pointed out last February.