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Topics - Fionntamhnach

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There's a bit of discussion in the Tyrone club thread presently concerning the state of "reserve" football in the county, and I thought it might be useful to hear about similar experiences from other counties about similar competitions.

Since it was introduced nearly 45 years ago, reserve football in Tyrone has followed a system that has fundamentally changed little since it was first organised - reserve teams are a club's second string side, which in some other counties might be called a B team, Junior B or C etc. However reserve teams in Tyrone do not play in the same league & championship system that first teams do - instead they are played in a parallel league. There is no direct promotion or relegation in the reserve league, your division depends on what your corresponding first team plays in. Fixtures for first and reserve teams are normally fixed as a "double header" with the reserve game first then the "senior" or first teams game afterwards - on a Sunday fixture the throw in for the reserve game is usually 2.15pm while the senior game is at 3.45pm. To help prevent clubs flooding their reserve teams with strong senior players, a list of players must be submitted before the league commences. This used to be 12 players but in recent years this has been reduced to 10 for Division 2 teams, and 9 for Division 3 teams while at the same time reserve league games in Divisions 2 & 3 are played 13-a-side, though 15-a-side is allowed if both teams agree. The championship is a straight knockout in each division where the first round opponents are the same as the corresponding draw in the senior, intermediate or junior championship. In theory it is perfectly possible to have a strong reserve side but a weak senior side and vice versa, so for example a club might have their senior team relegated from Division 2 to 3, but their reserve team win the corresponding Division 2 reserve league that same season - nevertheless that reserve team must compete in Division 3 the following year and likely hockey most teams out of sight. Or a senior team gets promoted to Division 1, but the corresponding reserve team is already struggling in games in Division 2, and so is likely on a hiding to nothing the following season in Division 1.

Particularly over the last few seasons, but especially in 2019, there has been an increase in clubs conceding the corresponding reserve league game as they don't have enough players to field. Part of this is down to potential mismatches due to the parallel system (a club that was heavily defeated in their first two or three games may struggle to keep player's interest going for the remainder of the league as it is a straight league, whoever finishes top of the table wins - no play-offs unless there is a tie on points) but a lot of it is down to the unpredictability of when games are fixed. Most certainly, Tyrone is not the only county with issues of arranging competitive club games in the midst of the provincial & All-Ireland championships, but the tying of reserve fixtures to the corresponding senior game present a big problem - for the mainstay senior panelists they might be willing to keep training in between the 4 to 6 weeks between a league game in the height of summer, but those on its fringes or just looking to play reserve football are less likely to - especially if they have families or other commitments and even more so if there is nothing to play for in those reserve games other than pride & a run out.

So to help try and stem the tide of a growing list of reserve fixtures not being played, a proposal was drawn up (headed by every Louth person's favourite Tyrone man, Martin Sludden) for the reserve football leagues and championships to be played independently from the corresponding senior leagues in 2020, consisting of 14 league rounds played on consecutive weeks with each division split into two sections based on geography, with promotion & relegation in this league occurring independently of the club's senior team status. The general feedback on the T'hrone club thread to the suggestion was mainly positive though some concern was given about the proposed Monday night fixtures for reserve league games, with another day like Friday or Saturday being better favoured. But as it were, the proposal was met with some poor feedback at the last County Board meeting and so for 2020 at least the reserve football structure will remain the same in Tyrone with a proviso of attempting to schedule standalone reserve fixtures during the summer months should the senior leagues be held up for county team reasons - how that might work in practice remains to be seen.

So after that "TL:DR" spiel, I was just wanting to pick up what happens elsewhere regarding second or even third string adult club teams in football & hurling in different counties. I know that in Ulster they either run it like its done in Tyrone (Antrim, Donegal, Derry) or run it as a separate league (Monaghan, Fermanagh, Down), while in some cases some stronger second teams are fielded in the same senior league structure (Armagh) whilst in Tyrone, Errigal Ciaran have an additional team in Division 3 of the senior league that is referred to as their "Thirds" as their seconds/reserve team plays in the Division 1 reserve league.

* Do many clubs in your county field more than one adult team (excluding U20 or U21 sides)?

* Do all teams play within one league structure, or do second and third club teams play within their own league & championship competitions?

* How successful is this format in helping bring and retain active players in the clubs that field these teams? Is there some way that you think it could be detrimental?

* Is there anything you can think of that would improve the format for second & third teams in your county?

* And any other suggestions!

Thanks in advance. Oh, and if reading all of the above has helped you fall asleep, don't mention it! ;)

GAA Discussion / Ulster Schools Football & Hurling 2019/20
« on: September 25, 2019, 02:13:00 PM »
New school year, new rounds of school competitions. The new schools GAA body in Ulster has now had time to bed itself in, and it seems like the format of up to six grades in football and four grades in hurling is working well. There are a few changes and things worth noting...

* Some of the cups/trophies have changed age level & grades. The most notable being the Under 15.5 football A grade will now play for the Oisin McGrath Cup (used to be the Brock Cup).

* The Under 13.5 football competitions are to be played under a special format at A, B & C grades...

The aim is to increase participation, and give every member of each school’s panel the opportunity to play in every game. We want to eliminate the dispiriting spectacle of 10/12 subs (and sometimes more) sitting unused throughout games.

The arrangements are as follows:

15-a-side as usual.
Each game will last 70 minutes, and will be divided into 3 segments: 25 mins – 20 mins – 25 mins
The scores in segments 1 + 3 will count towards the final score.
The middle 20 minutes will NOT count towards the final score, and all the subs will play in this segment.
Each player fouled takes his own free.
2 touch rule applies i.e. a player can take 1 solo + 1 bounce or 2 solos, and must then release the ball. N.B. If a player deliberately drops the ball or loses control after he has taken 2 touches, then another player must touch the ball before the original player can touch the ball again.

* Notably in the Mageean Cup (Under 19 A hurling) will not be defended by the An Dún amalgamation that won the tournament last year - apparently no entry was made for such a team to play this year when it came to the deadline.

Also, because this does crop up on the odd occasion, by my count there are eight schools that have entered teams for at least one competition (all football) for 2019/20 that are from the Integrated sector.

Relevant links...

General discussion / "...You're not welcome, you're not from our community"
« on: September 17, 2019, 09:45:49 PM »
Ardoyne 'threat' forces scaffolding company off site

The owner of a scaffolding company has claimed he was forced out of a job in North Belfast after two 'threatening phone calls'.

Davey Brown, 53, has owned Db Scaffolding for the last 20 years.

The Carrickfergus man told Belfast Live that he was “doing a favour” for a contractor at a site in Ardoyne.

However, he said that when they started the job the contractor received two phone calls saying that Mr Brown and his staff should get off site.

He said: “We were basically told, you’re not welcome, you’re not from our community.

A contractor asked us to do a favour because he couldn’t get anybody to do the job. I went up and met him there. I said that certainly, we’d do it. We have worked all over West Belfast , I’ve done the Ardoyne shops.

“At 9.45am I got call from the contractor and he said: ‘I’m sorry about this but you better get your men off site immediately’.

“He said: ‘I’ve had received two phone calls to tell you you better get the scaffolding stripped and back on that lorry and get out of here’.

“I asked if there were lives at risk and he said: ‘You’ve time to get packed up and get out of here and that’s all I’ve been told’.”

Many similar stories in the last few years telling people to "get out, you're not welcome" have nearly always been attributed to loyalist groups. The above report doesn't say whom was behind the threat, but I could make an educated guess.

General discussion / 💩 DUP C*ntwatch - Putting the "69" back into "1690"
« on: September 12, 2019, 05:23:35 PM »
While their public behaviour is pretty well known in these parts, I think it's only fair that if a dedicated thread is there for Sinn Fein, the SDLP & Fine Gael, then it's only fair that the DUP should have one for themselves too to keep all notes of their (mostly c*ntish) deeds in one place.

Anyhoo, Nelson McCausland has risen from the bottom of the septic tank to remind people again of how big of a **** he is.

Nelson McCausland: Northern Ireland will prosper once it’s rid of the EU... not by being tied to ‘economics of the leprechaun’
Talk of an ‘all-Ireland economy’ is just a Trojan horse for republicans’ goal of Irish unity, writes Nelson McCausland



It's just over a decade when this question was last asked here and back then the general consensus was Larne, Bundoran, Granard (in fact near enough the whole of counties Longford & Cavan), Castlebar (thanks to a very sensitive contributor) and Craigavon, in particular Beirut the Legahory estate. With honourable mentions to Athy, Dundalk, Strabane, Lurgan, Clonmel and few others I can't be arsed typing out.

Since then the property bubble has burst, the Celtic Tiger has been shot and stuffed, the Republic of Ireland has gone through a turbulent economic period and so on. So it's worth asking has much changed in this regard - have certain places become even worse sh*tholes? Is there some place that ten years ago was a nice spot that has now got so bad that they could twin with Compton, Damascus or Mogadishu? What places have just got no hope whatsoever that if a meteorite hit it, it would cause hundreds of thousands of Euros in improvements? I think at this time it's worth revisiting.

Simple rules - generally looking for villages, towns or parts of major cities across all 32 counties, please give reasons as that makes the thread more entertaining, remember that pretty much every built-up settlement of at least a few thousand people will have at least one "bad" spot, and don't take this thread or nominations toooooo seriously!  8)

To throw my thoughts in...

Castlederg - Strabane, along with Lurgan, has for quite some time been a big punching bag whenever anyone brings up the issue of sh*tholes. Now I can't speak too much about Lurgan but over the last decade IMO Strabane has come on quite well for itself. It still has issues regarding deprevation but the reputation of the town has definitely improved. On the other hand it's little brother a few miles down the road has been going the opposite direction especially in terms of sectarian tensions but also any time I'm going through there the whole town looks just looks dirty beyond its town centre "diamond". To explain it a bit better, I've a relative who's a PSNI officer based in Derry. He has told me that he enjoys going on patrols in the city, has no real hassle going about Strabane but dreads being sent to Castlederg.

Elphin - now it's been a good few years since I was there to attend a football game and it might have improved a bit since then, but this place stands out to me as the most miserable, depressing spot I've ever been to anywhere in Ireland. Maybe the weather that day didn't help, maybe most of the buildings I seen were just empty shells or needed a good painting, maybe it was bumping into certain locals whom were a cross of the main characters of The League Of Gentlemen and Father Stone from Father Ted. Whatever it was it's left a lasting mark on me. To Hell or to Elphin.

Moygashel - some posters here would simply list this place because of its demographics. I list it here simply because any village which has on it's main street for years a banner commerating the death of a UVF member who blew himself to pieces planting the prematurely exploding bomb in the Miami Showband massacre quite frankly deserves to be labelled a sh*thole regardless of anything else.

Clones - let's be honest, if it wasn't for St. Tiernach's Park this town would be barely acknowleged for its existence outside of west Monaghan and South Fermanagh. The town literally lives for the Ulster Football Championship. Take that away and you've got a small town that has been struggling for decades as many border areas have been with nothing of it of note other than Barry McGuigan coming from there. It's like an extreme example of certain shops, pubs, restaurants etc. pinning their hopes for a big December customer taking to make up for the other 11 months of the year barely holding things together.

Bundoran - Recent visits to the place some call Fundoran (?) hasn't changed my mind much about it. The beach is uninspiring unless you're into surfing, the town is tacky & expensive, in a few of the pubs you'd be fortunate to come out of them without being struck by a barstool, and once the 1st September hits there is utterly no soul to the place until the May/June bank holidays arrive at the very earliest. I can see some attraction if you're a parent with young children, but not really much else. It's Nordie equivalent, Portrush, would also make this list if it wasn't for it lying just a couple of miles from Portstewart which is a clear-as-day much better place that you can quickly sprint over to. Unfortunately, Bundoran has no such close neighbour which can help redeem it.

GAA Discussion / Ulster Schools GAA 2016/17
« on: September 24, 2016, 01:40:15 AM »
Usually there's such a topic thrown up every September over the last few years, but I haven't seen one yet so I may as well create one.

I can't recall how the Rannafast went in 2014/15 to give a rough guide to the MacRory Cup so maybe someone else can fill that in. Off the field, the big shakeup is now that there is one single schools GAA body in Ulster with the merger of the Colleges and Vocational Schools boards. Unfortunately so far there seems to be little practical information on what grade of competition each school is competing in at each age level outside of the schools themselves. I know there is at least five grades for football (the old colleges structure had three) and either three or four for hurling. While there's likely to be little notable difference in "A" grade competitions at least in the short term, it's going to take at least a couple of years for lower grades to effectively sort themselves out so that some schools that might be in D or E grades aren't so overwhelmingly strong that they should ideally be competing at C or even B grade instead.

GAA Discussion / Hoodoos and Jinxes, Graveyards and Fortress'
« on: October 03, 2013, 11:49:50 AM »
As an offshoot from a post in the "10 Years Today" thread, nearly every team tends to have something in them that often allows them to have a sign over a team over a consistent period and vice versa. Also some counties tend to have some very poor records at some grounds, but have otherwise excellent records at another in the sense of being a fortress for them even if its not their home pitch.

It doesn't have to mean that a team always wins, loses against another, or always wins or loses at certain grounds, but over the years I've noticed a certain pattern with Tyrone county representative teams...

Voodoo sign over: Fermanagh & Kerry were two mentioned in the same thread. Concerning the latter while the records in recent years are fairly balanced, the emphasis is often leant that Tyrone has had the upper edge when it has mattered the most at least at senior level, 1986 obviously excluded. The former, at least 9 times out of 10 Tyrone will win the battle. Others that spring to mind are Monaghan (minors this year an obvious exception) and there's also a tidy record over the years against Galway.

Jinxed by: The immediate one that springs to mind is Mayo. They have a decent record against Tyrone and even when Tyrone do win, it's rarely by a big margin. Meath perhaps also falls into that category.

Graveyards: The first one that immediately springs to mind is Páirc Tailteann in Navan, I'm struggling to think of a Tyrone side at any level which has won a knockout game there.

Fortress': At home Tyrone teams have a good record in Dungannon compared to Healy Park in Omagh. Away from home, Tyrone sides have a decent record in Casement Park and Newbridge. Nothing elsewhere that anywhere close to being a fortress on travels that I can think of.

There's always at least one story floating about each December, and to kick it off this year...

Last week, a kindergarten teacher at Austin's Pease Elementary School ("the oldest continuously operating school in the state of Texas,") ruined Christmas for her five-year-old students in a particularly dick-ish manner."None of you believe in Santa, do you?" the Grinch-like teacher, identified only as "Mrs. Fueller," reportedly asked her class before telling them Santa was a lie and their parents were responsible for all the presents under their tree.

Just a reminder that those watching terrestrial TV in or from the north that BBC2 analogue shuts down permanently next Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (looking at the schedules it'll either be 11.50pm or 12.20am) and will be replaced by a new digital multiplex which will carry all BBC channels in standard definition at high power. Relays will also broadcast digital for the first time so if you haven't received Freeview up until then and still rely on analogue you'll be able to now have at least part of the service. Majority of viewers should be able to view this new multiplex from 6am but those at some relays might have to wait until mid-afternoon before they become available. If you currently have Freeview reception you will have to retune on the Wednesday or you'll lose some BBC Channels (BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, CbbC and BBC News at least).

Two weeks later is the big analogue switch off across all of Ireland - in the north all remaining analogue TV is shut down, and new full-power multiplexes will take their place, including one multiplex that will carry HD services (BBC1, BBC HD, UTV HD, 4HD and another future service) which will be available at all transmitters and relays. The commercial multiplexes will remain only being broadcast at the main transmitters (no relays) and anyone who currently receives them should still get them though there might be a few problems in parts of Tyrone & Fermanagh. The RTÉ mini multiplex will also fire up on this date which should be available to many across the north (the north coast being a general exception) especially if they can't get Saorview though it will only carry RTÉ1, RTÉ2 and TG4 in SD. The RTÉ mini multiplex and HD multiplex require a Freeview HD receiver to watch - Freeview (non-HD) and Saorview receivers won't receive them. The switch-off and conversion to full digital service will follow a similar pattern to the first stage two weeks before - analogue channels shut around midnight, majority of viewers should be able to tune in by morning time but a few will have to wait until mid-afternoon. Again a retune of Freeview receivers are required.

In the south on the same day the analogue TV broadcasts of RTÉ1, RTÉ2, TV3 and TG4 will shut down at approx. 10.00am. The Saorview transmission network is almost complete and most viewers won't have to perform retunes with a few exceptions - in the south-east, viewers receiving from the Mount Leinster transmitter will see their current frequency for Saorview broadcasts move from channel 45 to channel 23 - they'll be a brief simulcast period before the transmission on channel 45 is switched off. That should improve coverage and reception particularly along the coastline where Welsh signals interfere on the same channel. Secondly the Clermont Carn transmitter in Louth will also change frequency from channel 53 to 52 (with a short simulcast period) and the new Saorview broadcasts on channel 52 will come from the current analogue TV aerial meaning that Saorview coverage in the north will significantly increase, but parts of the south especially around north County Dublin should also have an improved service. Both these new frequencies should be transmitting on the 24th from around lunchtime or mid-afternoon.

Useful resources...

In the north if you, a relation or a friend is 75 or over, or is eligible for certain disability benefits they can avail of the Switchover Help Scheme. If you are eligible you should have already received a letter from them, more info is available from

GAA Discussion / GAA Fixtures & Results service
« on: July 24, 2012, 02:40:11 PM »
I'm going out on a limb here because I'm in a bit of limbo, but does anyone here know about integrating the GAA club Fixtures & Results into a website? I think it's done through but I'm not 100% certain.

If anyone can help me, could you please send me a PM?
Thanks in advance.

Twetted by @TyroneGAALive
In the event of Donegal vs Tyrone semi final will be held in Clones, if Derry vs Tyrone the venue will be Casement.

GAA Discussion / Rarities
« on: May 14, 2012, 04:54:59 PM »
 Couple of thoughts just came into my head that I don't know can be answered or not...

(1) Anyone know (both football and hurling) what the longest distance from the goal line that a point or goal has been scored? I've heard a story once at a Dublin hurling club game of a goalkeeper scoring two points from puck outs in his own square aided by a stiff breeze behind him while in football similar conditions can occasionally allow points to be scored from about 65-70 metres out.

(2) Has there been any recorded cases, again in either football or hurling, where a goalkeeper has scored a goal where the ball was live i.e. not from a penalty, free, sideline, kick out/puck out or 45/65? Davy Fitzgerald hit a few goals in his time for Clare but they were from dead balls. On a more localised level, I remember a few years ago in a reserve game against Glenelly our starting goalkeeper played in goals in the first half, was taken off at half time, came back on in the second half as an outfield player and scored a goal a few minutes later, but that doesn't really count.     

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