Author Topic: State of club football in Tyrone  (Read 9933 times)

Fionntamhnach

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State of club football in Tyrone
« on: November 19, 2011, 08:45:25 PM »
With all adult competitions now finished for the year in Tyrone bar the Under 21 Grade 1 & 2 championships, I reckon it's time for a worthwhile look as to how the club scene is in Tyrone.

First, we're now four seasons into the return of the three division format back from four divisions, and I must say I'm not a fan of the current set up for numerous reasons inherent in it, and others that have developed over time.

1. There are too many mid-table games in all divisions in the second half of the season especially that has little to no effective outcome to either team regardless of result, or that in the last few rounds teams which were not threatened with relegation but no chance of promotion had no reason for putting the effort required in against opposition that were more in need of points. For all the quirks the four division set up had, nearly all games meant something to both teams and had something to play for up until the final round. 2008 saw this be notorious with several clubs not fielding in the last few games - it's not been quite as bad recently but there are still rumours that go about of giving one club a "favour" for something in the past for example.

2. IMO the standard of club football in the county has either remained static or gone down hill over the last four years. At senior and intermediate levels despite the exploits of Trillick and Cookstown in 2008 and 2009 Tyrone clubs have made little impact otherwise in the provincial club championships. Junior has shown a marked downfall; while Derrytresk have reached this year's Ulster Final, the previous three county representatives failed to get past the first round. Prior to 2008 Tyrone clubs had good records in both Intermediate and Junior provincial championships.

3. Club footballers in Tyrone have one of the lowest amount of guaranteed games in all of Ireland, at 16 (15 league and 1 championship) for senior and intermediate players and 18 for junior. This falls well short of the minimum of 20 recommended by Central Council. Cup competitions at one time did plug a useful gap in this shortfall but there's been none for the past two seasons. Some would point to the Ulster club league as making up the shortfall, but most clubs treat the games as little more than organised pre-season friendlies that don't be taken seriously.

4. With 48 football clubs and 99 teams fielded at senior and reserve levels in 2011, afaik Tyrone has the largest amount of football teams of all counties in Ulster.

To take into account the points above, to add myself...

* Several posters in the main Tyrone thread have said that it's time to do away with the top-four play-offs in Division 1; as long as up to five starred league rounds are in place, some level of compensation is required to not heavily penalise clubs for simply having players representing their county. Just because one club may be happy to play away without one or two county players regardless does not mean that all clubs should, in particular some clubs with county players have much more limited player resources than others and without a couple of certain players would struggle to be competitive. It could also be argued that having a starred game system in a single round robin league is harsher than in a double round robin league - the four division system at least ensured that each club in the league met each other at least once with the strongest teams they had available.

* The strong link of league and championship in Tyrone is treated as a sacred cow; I don't think there's any need for this to be - of all the other counties in Ulster only Monaghan has such an attachment similar to Tyrone and even then they run separate reserve leagues. I know Derry currently have a set up similar to Tyrone but AFAIK in theory any team can enter the Derry SFC, which isn't the case in Tyrone. This bondage in Tyrone, especially with only a league and championship taking place, means a lot of eggs are placed in one basket where playing in the league is not as much about a competition on its own merits, but one that determines club status where promotion opportunities are limited (you could win 14 out of your 15 matches in Division 2 and still not get promoted) and relegation carries a heavy price.

* The gap in standards between say the top 2-4 teams and the bottom 2-4 teams in each division is too wide. In the four division set up, games were IMO more competitive especially in Divisions 1B & 2 with 12 teams each. Players at all levels enjoy the games more when they are more competitive and the more competitive they are, the higher standards can be maintained at all levels. It was ironic that the lesson from a 24 club SFC was not learned on this - namely that in the 24 club SFC the intention was that it would help increase standards in club football in Tyrone, but in practice far too many teams were simply not up to scratch to be competitive.

* The gap between divisions is getting wider, particularly between Divisions 2 and 3. Since the inter-divisional play-offs were reintroduced in 2009, of the six ties played only one has seen the lower division team win (Moortown in 2010). It's a particular concern between Divisions 2 and 3 as the past three ties have been comfortably won by the Division 2 sides, while teams that have been relegated from Division 2 have performed strongly in Junior football with many going straight back up (Killeeshil, Stewartstown, Killyman) strongly. My own opinion also is that 18 teams is too big where no one is relegated and only one team is guaranteed promotion in the competition. Junior football in Tyrone has been known to be a bear pit to get out of if you end up getting stuck in it, as the likes of Dungannon are finding out.

To me, club football should be as competitive as possible across all levels from the top of Division 1 right down to its lowest levels, and that an ambitious club should be able to progress fluidly through the ranks. While there have been examples in the past of teams getting two consecutive promotions (Clann na nGael, Dregish) these have been the exceptions than the norm because the gap in standards from the top of one division to another is difficult to bridge. Tyrone is generally a conservative county when it comes to the GAA, and little is done to make changes unless its kind of forced on. Changes to league and championship formats over the last couple of decades have been brought on mainly by those on the county executive to try and fit club football around county teams, rather than what I feel is trying to ensure what is best for club football in the county. The question for me is that is there an appetite for a major overhaul over club competitions in Tyrone to be for a greater benefit and not just for the individual desires of clubs themselves?
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The Trap

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 10:21:25 PM »
A lot of thought went into this post and several very valid points are made. I dont think they will go back to 4 divisions (not for next year anyway) but if they did i would like to see top 12 teams automatically into senior championship, next 12 teams in intermediate championship, teams in next division have a choice to enter either intermediate or junior and teams in bottom division in junior. That would make all championships more competitive.
I would also like teams to have a second chance in championship (like Derry) as these are the biggest games you can play in and one every 12 months is not enough!
In this league system it would be much easier to do away with annoying 4 team play-offs and imagine if it was a case of 2 up 2 down with 3rd bottom/3rd top teams in a last chance play off game. Most clubs would have something to play for until the end of the season, have at least 2 championship games and if home and away in league at least 22 league games.
There was one other very disappointing thing in Tyrone this year and that was the number of reserve games that never took place.
As i said good post, what we should be talking about instead of events in Dunmoyle.

blewuporstuffed

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2011, 04:27:39 PM »
To be honest, I thought the fixtures worked pretty well this year overall, with the exception of the large gap between the finish of the league, and the league playoffs being played.
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andoireabu

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2011, 05:02:36 PM »
A lot of thought went into this post and several very valid points are made. I dont think they will go back to 4 divisions (not for next year anyway) but if they did i would like to see top 12 teams automatically into senior championship, next 12 teams in intermediate championship, teams in next division have a choice to enter either intermediate or junior and teams in bottom division in junior. That would make all championships more competitive.
I would also like teams to have a second chance in championship (like Derry) as these are the biggest games you can play in and one every 12 months is not enough!
In this league system it would be much easier to do away with annoying 4 team play-offs and imagine if it was a case of 2 up 2 down with 3rd bottom/3rd top teams in a last chance play off game. Most clubs would have something to play for until the end of the season, have at least 2 championship games and if home and away in league at least 22 league games.
There was one other very disappointing thing in Tyrone this year and that was the number of reserve games that never took place.
As i said good post, what we should be talking about instead of events in Dunmoyle.
This has its good points and bad.  Good in that it gives teams who would normally go out in the first round a couple of extra games.  Bad in that it takes the sting out of the pre-knockout games.  I was at a game this year between Lavey and Ballinderry and it was nothing like championship football as both teams knew they had another chance if beaten.  It could also lead better teams to try and pick an easier way to the knockouts.
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Fionntamhnach

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2011, 09:18:15 PM »
To be honest, I thought the fixtures worked pretty well this year overall, with the exception of the large gap between the finish of the league, and the league playoffs being played.
Credit where credit is due, the initial rounds of the league which finished up in early September was kept to the script well. It just went Pete Tong after that, there were too many unnecessary delays in the championship e.g. two of the SFC quarter final replays taking two weeks to take place, which ended up with Dromore only having six days to prepare for Ballinderry.
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blewuporstuffed

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011, 10:07:53 AM »
To be honest, I thought the fixtures worked pretty well this year overall, with the exception of the large gap between the finish of the league, and the league playoffs being played.
Credit where credit is due, the initial rounds of the league which finished up in early September was kept to the script well. It just went Pete Tong after that, there were too many unnecessary delays in the championship e.g. two of the SFC quarter final replays taking two weeks to take place, which ended up with Dromore only having six days to prepare for Ballinderry.
yeah i agree
the running of the main part of the league went well overall.
the issue was getting the championship & playoffs played in some sort of structured manner
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LeoMc

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 05:19:20 PM »
A few more random thoughts, opinions and questions:

Leagues
The running of the league (excluding playoffs) went well. However that was only providing 15 of the 20 recommended games.
We would need to squeeze in an extra 7 games if we revert to 4 divisions of 12. It would be doable with a few additional doubled up weekends (Friday evening & Sunday afternoon games) but IIRC one of the benefits from not having home and away fixtures was that it would allow a year for heads to cool if there was a particularly tempestuous match. No more of the "wait til we get them up our place next month" mentality. Not sure if this argument hold much water anymore though.

If leagues and championships were separated what is to prevent a senior level club in Div 2 declaring for the lower grade championship to chase silverware?

Championships
I am not sure I agree with having the 24 teams in the Senior championship as we do not have 24 clubs at that level. In addition it would mean we were putting forward weaker representatives into the Intermediate and Junior Ulster championships.
Could years of parochialism be overturned to allow Divisional teams to compete in the Senior championship (a la Kerry) to allow Div 3 & 4 players the opportunity to compete at a higher level?
 

The Trap

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2011, 08:36:48 PM »
Give me an example of a Divisional Team - would it be Clonoe, Derrylaughan, Brockagh and Derrytresk?
I will give it a go:
O'Neill (Clonoe)
Campbell (Derrytresk)
Brady (Clonoe)
Burke (Clonoe)
Coney (Clonoe)
C O'Neill (Derrytresk)
Hughes (Clonoe)
McNulty (Clonoe)
O'Hagan (Clonoe)
L Gervin (Derrylaughan)
C Gervin (Derrylaughan)
Doris (Clonoe)
Gavin (Derrytresk)
C Donnelly (Clonoe)
Donnelly (Brockagh)

I heard there was a tournament like this years ago when teams joined up. Put a few clubs together and pick your teams there........

Ardboe/Moortown/Cookstown
Donaghmore/Galbally/Rock
Coalisland/Edendork/Killyman
Eglish/Dungannon/Killeshil/Aghaloo
Carrickmore/Loughmacrory/Pomeroy
Greencastle/Kildress/Gortin
Errigle/Augher//Clogher/Eskra
Dromore/Trillick/Fintona

For example!!!!!!

LeoMc

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 10:09:05 PM »
Senior clubs would not be able to join up but the Intermediate / Junior clubs in a region could to compete with the senior clubs. They would also compete separately in the Intermediate or Junior championship. e.g.

West Tyrone (Castlederg, Aghayaran, Drumquin, Dregish)
East Tyrone (Derrytresk, Brocagh, Stewartstwon, Brackaville, Edendork, Killyman)
South Tyrone (Moy, Dungannon,Killeshil, Galbally, Eglish)
North Tyrone (Strabane, Urney, Newtown, Owen Roes, Clann NaGael, Gortin)
Mid-West (Fintona, Tatts, Beragh, Drumragh)
Clogher valley (Aghaloo, Augher, Clogher, Eskra)

If a team wins the intermediate championship or goes Senior through the league they withdraw from their divisional team.

Family guy

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011, 10:57:59 PM »
Senior clubs would not be able to join up but the Intermediate / Junior clubs in a region could to compete with the senior clubs. They would also compete separately in the Intermediate or Junior championship. e.g.

West Tyrone (Castlederg, Aghayaran, Drumquin, Dregish)
East Tyrone (Derrytresk, Brocagh, Stewartstwon, Brackaville, Edendork, Killyman)
South Tyrone (Moy, Dungannon,Killeshil, Galbally, Eglish)
North Tyrone (Strabane, Urney, Newtown, Owen Roes, Clann NaGael, Gortin)
Mid-West (Fintona, Tatts, Beragh, Drumragh)
Clogher valley (Aghaloo, Augher, Clogher, Eskra)

If a team wins the intermediate championship or goes Senior through the league they withdraw from their divisional team.

Why would eglish or edendork want to join up with other teams when there already in division 1.Leave well enough alone

Fionntamhnach

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2011, 11:10:12 PM »
A few more random thoughts, opinions and questions:

Leagues
The running of the league (excluding playoffs) went well. However that was only providing 15 of the 20 recommended games.
We would need to squeeze in an extra 7 games if we revert to 4 divisions of 12. It would be doable with a few additional doubled up weekends (Friday evening & Sunday afternoon games) but IIRC one of the benefits from not having home and away fixtures was that it would allow a year for heads to cool if there was a particularly tempestuous match. No more of the "wait til we get them up our place next month" mentality. Not sure if this argument hold much water anymore though.
I wonder if a five division model should be considered. This would in the current case give ten teams in each division, home and away giving 18 games and two up two down promotion/relegation. You could look at interdivisional play-offs but it wouldn't be necessary. I know back in 2006 when there was a review leagues of eight teams only it was dismissed as being unpopular, but I think ten could work and that 18 league games wouldn't put too much pressure on fixtures as 22 would

If leagues and championships were separated what is to prevent a senior level club in Div 2 declaring for the lower grade championship to chase silverware?
You could have a simple bye-law(s) to prevent this, for example in the senior championship the current holder, last year's IFC winners, all teams playing in Division 1 that season and any club now in Division 2 having been relegated would only be allowed to play in the SFC. Any other Division 2 team, along with Division 3 teams relegated from Division 2 would have to play in the IFC if they opt not to play in the SFC, along with the JFC champions. All other teams would be entitled to play in the JFC, though double-hopping e.g. going from Senior to Junior the following year or vice-versa would not be allowed. It would at least prevent a situation of a non-senior team in Division 1 for example while giving the majority of clubs some flexibility.

Championships
I am not sure I agree with having the 24 teams in the Senior championship as we do not have 24 clubs at that level. In addition it would mean we were putting forward weaker representatives into the Intermediate and Junior Ulster championships.
A 24 team SFC (in at least 24 teams having to play in the SFC) is a non-runner IMHO, too many teams are simply not up to scratch to do so. Somewhere between 12 and 16 clubs on their own would be ideal, along with another 12-16 in Intermediate. The problem might arise of the JFC being top-heavy with teams, perhaps another grade below Junior (like Novice in Kerry) could be considered.
Could years of parochialism be overturned to allow Divisional teams to compete in the Senior championship (a la Kerry) to allow Div 3 & 4 players the opportunity to compete at a higher level?
I don't think strict "divisional" teams with rigid boundaries would work in Tyrone, there's no such history or tradition here of that. There might be some merit of combinations of clubs which are not declared for Senior entering the SFC though. I see there was an example of this in Down this year though it was only one team. If you allowed say one Intermediate and one junior club, or three junior clubs together as long as one team shares a catchment boundary with at least one other (an exception might have to be made say for a club whom all its neighbours are senior), to enter a team solely for the SFC it could provoke some interest. Of course, the penalty for such teams would be of no entry into the Ulster Club SFC, and that they aren't as likely to be a cohesive unit compared to a seasoned club team.

In the shorter term for next season, I'd look at having the following...

Reserves - make the Division 2 & 3 reserve leagues 13-a-side, allowing for 15-a-side to take place if either both teams agree beforehand. Championship and league play-off games would be 13-a-side only. Also the ban on county minor players playing the the reserve championship should be lifted. In the list of 12 players clubs submit that can't play in the reserve league, only players who started at least four senior league games the previous year or who have played for the county at senior or U21 level either this year or the past two years can be put on the list; check these lists after four or five games and if someone on the list of 12 who isn't a current county player or is out injured hasn't started in at least one senior game then the club is told to submit a new name in their place - this should help stop phantom names on the list.

Senior - change the minimum amount of promotion/relegation places from two to three. For relegation in divisions 1 & 2, 16th team is still relegated. 14th vs. 15th play off, loser is relegated, winner plays 13th team where again the loser is relegated and the winners goes into interdivisional play-off. In Division 2, top two league teams (excluding IFC winners) automatically promoted, 4th plays 5th, winner goes on to play 3rd place team, winner of that game plays in interdivisional play-off. Assuming Carrickmore and Errigal Ciaran have third teams next year, split Division 3 into two sections of nine teams with teams playing each other twice, top two teams in each section then play in a three-round mini league of four teams. Top team in mini league are division 3 winners and (excluding JFC winners) also promoted, second place team also promoted and third place team go into interdivisional play-off. JFC would remain as normal. Example sections (A) Brocagh, Killyman, Aghaloo, Clogher Brackaville, Dungannon, Beragh, Carmen III, Errigal III, (B) Owen Roes, Glenelly, Newtownstewart, Castlederg, Dregish, Drumquin, Drumragh, T***yreagh, Fintona.
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trileacman

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 02:00:46 AM »
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tc_manchester

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2011, 09:52:00 AM »
I'm a great believer of bringing divisional teams into the senior championship both from the county perspective and the club perspective. It means that it gives a footballer from every club a chance to win the top accolade in the county and also to be tested against the best players in the county. The old joke of a player on a junior team scoring 2-7 against Tattyreagh and saying that he should be playing for the county. The answer being the next time that Tyrone play Tattyreagh then he's on will no longer hold true. It means that a good footballer from any club in the county will be spotted through playing senior championship football.
 
Kerry are the most successful county in Ireland and I believe that the main reason for this is the divisional system. If you look at both Kerry and the Tyrone panels (basing this on the panels listed in wikipedia)

              Kerry  - Players from Senior Clubs 22 in panel of 41  53%
              Tyrone - Players from Senior clubs 22 in panel of 28 78%

All the kerry players will have played in their senior county championship - The standard county championship system will not find late developers in intermediate / junior clubs. The kerry system is set up to find the best footballers in the county. When was the last time a player from an intermediate / junior club who didn't play minor football for the county actually play senior football for Tyrone

WeeDonns

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2011, 01:46:17 PM »
Some interesting suggestions raised on this thread and there’s no harm in debating them

Tc_manchester has a point that divisional teams would give Junior & Intermediate players the chance to get noticed earlier and potentially make the county team, but what is the incentive for doing this? as we have recently won 3 all-Irelands with the current system and small representation of Junior players.
I couldn’t see this being accepted if proposed for a variety of reasons, but if we still had won no AIs at this stage the above argument may have helped convince some people



In the shorter term for next season, I'd look at having the following...

Reserves - make the Division 2 & 3 reserve leagues 13-a-side, allowing for 15-a-side to take place if either both teams agree beforehand. Championship and league play-off games would be 13-a-side only. Also the ban on county minor players playing the the reserve championship should be lifted. In the list of 12 players clubs submit that can't play in the reserve league, only players who started at least four senior league games the previous year or who have played for the county at senior or U21 level either this year or the past two years can be put on the list; check these lists after four or five games and if someone on the list of 12 who isn't a current county player or is out injured hasn't started in at least one senior game then the club is told to submit a new name in their place - this should help stop phantom names on the list.

F*ck that! 13 a side would mean corner backs having to run more!

Is getting the numbers for Reserve teams that big an issue for Clubs? we have the opposite problem having had 15+ subs for many games this year.
Reserve teams not fielding just seems to be an end of season thing where players have nothing to play for. IMO this is an issue for individual Clubs to sort out, its pretty embarrassing for them.
If the county board were to do something about this, maybe the reserve championship could be put off until all league games are played? but obviously the Senior championships will have started and there will be more players than normal who cant take part in the reserve first round as they'll have already been used in the senior first round

I agree with your points about the list of 12 players - bit of a sham at the moment

winghalfback

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Re: State of club football in Tyrone
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2011, 03:56:58 PM »
Give me an example of a Divisional Team - would it be Clonoe, Derrylaughan, Brockagh and Derrytresk?
I will give it a go:
O'Neill (Clonoe)
Campbell (Derrytresk)
Brady (Clonoe)
Burke (Clonoe)
Coney (Clonoe)
C O'Neill (Derrytresk)
Hughes (Clonoe)
McNulty (Clonoe)
O'Hagan (Clonoe)
L Gervin (Derrylaughan)
C Gervin (Derrylaughan)
Doris (Clonoe)
Gavin (Derrytresk)
C Donnelly (Clonoe)
Donnelly (Brockagh)

I heard there was a tournament like this years ago when teams joined up. Put a few clubs together and pick your teams there........

Ardboe/Moortown/Cookstown
Donaghmore/Galbally/Rock
Coalisland/Edendork/Killyman
Eglish/Dungannon/Killeshil/Aghaloo
Carrickmore/Loughmacrory/Pomeroy
Greencastle/Kildress/Gortin
Errigle/Augher//Clogher/Eskra
Dromore/Trillick/Fintona

For example!!!!!!

just to let you know donnelly would not make that clonoe parish team no ryan t no pj no mc aliskey no mc kee all far better players than him maybe the county board should get that competition up and going again would be good craic for all those months when we have no football during the summer