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District teams in county club championships

  • 11-02-2019 12:09pm
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 547 Duffryman


    The issue of divisional teams in county championships is being discussed a bit in the ‘Kerry clubs grading system’ thread, but I’ve a couple of more general points/questions about it that are not specific to any county, so thought I’d start a new thread on it as well.

    I’m curious about how certain aspects of it operate in counties that do it. Here in Wexford, we had divisional teams in the senior championships for a spell back in the 1970s/early 1980s, but not since then. It’s too long ago for me to know exactly how it operated at the time, but I know that it wasn’t always a success. For example, a divisional team once reached the county senior football final, but then gave a walkover because infighting in that district meant they couldn’t agree on a team for the final. The other team (an ‘ordinary’ club) was awarded the title instead.

    From time to time, there’s a suggestion here that divisional teams should be considered again, and right now there seems to be a small bit of a momentum towards the idea being floated again. So, couple of questions –

    1 – In general, does there tend to be much ‘politic’-ing with regard to divisional teams? By that, I mean much infighting between intermediate/junior clubs in a district as regards agreeing on a manager and selectors? Or then bad feeling if a club feels they’re not getting fair treatment? For example, ‘our Johnny is better than their Tommy, but their Tommy is getting picked because they have a selector, and we don’t’?

    2 – Who actually finances the divisional teams? I’m presuming they have the same costs as ordinary clubs teams – e.g. replacement hurls in hurling, a fee for a physio for each match, probably a meal after the game if they do happen to make a final. And as regards registration and insurance? Are they registered as a separate ‘club’ and do they need a separate insurance policy? Or is a player with a district team covered by the same player insurance that he already has with his club?

    3 – How does it impact on fixtures in lower grades? I’m presuming that intermediate and junior championships have to be held up for as long as a district team remains in the senior championship.

    4 – Finally…and this is one for personal opinion…is it fair on ordinary senior clubs to have to play against district teams? For example, there are 10 clubs in my own district (and it was 11 until just a year or two ago). Only two of them are senior in hurling, and a different two are senior in football. Would it be fair on any one of these clubs to have to play against the pick of eight other clubs?


Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 547 Duffryman


    Well, so much for my attempt to get some info on how this works in other counties!

    There were plenty of people over in that Kerry thread with strong views like 'it's a great system, don't know why it doesn't operate everywhere'. I'd have hoped at least some of them would have answered here with details of some of the practicalities of how it operates. But there you go.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭ Dermotsull13


    Hi Duffryman,

    I said I would try and give you some information on the structure in Kerry and it might give you a better idea of how things are set up.

    In Kerry there are 5 main football championships

    County Championship

    8 Senior Clubs + 9 Divisional Teams

    Preliminary Round of 2 weaker performing divisional teams over the last number of years played early in the year to reduce divisional sides to 8 teams.

    Divisional teams consist of intermediate, junior, & junior B teams in a particular district to give the best players from those clubs the opportunity to play at the highest level in the county. This also affords the county management an opportunity to spot talent from smaller and lesser known clubs. Hence the reason that you could have a large percentage of a Kerry intercountry match day panel made up of Intermediate, Junior A & Junior B club players.

    This competition is ran off when Kerry are knocked out of the All Ireland Series. As the club championships are finished in May and county leagues (1-5) are finished by end of August it gives the county championship a clear run for September / October.

    Senior Club Championship

    8 Senior Club Teams

    Played as 2 groups of 4 with group winners advancing to the final. Winners only become relevant if a divisional side wins the county championship because divisional sides cannot advance to Munster and all Ireland series. This competition is completely ran off in April / early May.

    Intermediate Club Championship

    16 Intermediate Club Teams

    Played as 4 groups of 4 with group winners advancing to semi-finals. Winners advance to Munster and All Ireland Series. This competition is completely ran off in April / early May.

    Junior Premier Club Championship

    16 Junior Premier Club Teams. (Junior A)

    Played as 4 groups of 4 with group winners advancing to semi-finals. Winners advance to Munster and All Ireland Series. This competition is completely ran off in April / early May.

    Junior Club Championship

    18 Junior Club Teams. (Junior B)

    Preliminary round reduces 4 teams to 2. Remaining 16 team play as 4 groups of 4 with group winners advancing to semi-finals. This competition is completely ran off in April / early May.


  • Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭ Dermotsull13


    In response to your man questions these are my best attempt!!

    1
    There is plenty of in fighting as you say with regards managers & players but the divisional structure is well established within Kerry at this stage so I guess a lot of the teething problems have been ironed out. Of course you still have issues with divisional sides being poor organised with regards to training and getting players to commit but due to the restructure in the calendar in 2018 I think that will become less of an issue going forward. The best club players within the division will be encouraged by their club to represent them on the county championship level as club commitments will be finished. It also give them an opportunity to put themselves in the shop window for possibly a county call up which again will bring prestige to the smaller clubs.

    2
    Every divisional sides would have sponsors and committees for fundraising to provide for kits, meals, physios etc. similar in nature to club teams. Again some are better organised than others in this regard and would have a good setup. I would not be sure about the insurance policy but I would imagine that as long as you are a paid playing member of a club then you would be covered.

    3
    I am basing this off what happened in 2018 as there was a restructure of the calendar within the county to coincide with the April for Clubs Policy by the GAA. All club championships senior, intermediate, junior a and junior b are ran off in April / May and the county league is finished for the end of August. The county championship doesn’t begin until the start of September so you have a clear schedule.

    4
    I guess this is the trade-off. Generally the senior club teams will have the larger pick of players being from urban areas (Tralee, Killarney, Dingle, Kenmare…) and will of course be much better organised / structured than a divisional outfit. But you can pick the top 2 / 3 players from 8 teams within a division then you will also end up with a strong team. This is where the poorer organisation & training structure would come against a divisional side. Trying to gel all these players together is key. It makes for an interesting county championship at the end of the day.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 547 Duffryman


    Thanks Dermot, for those detailed and informative replies.

    Just to do things in the same order, I’ll first run through how things operate in Wexford (as briefly as I can!). By far the biggest difference here is that there’s equal weight and time given to both hurling and football championships. As an aside, just wondering how or where hurling fits in amongst all the football in Kerry? How many teams take part, and when is it played?

    Anyway, here’s the deal with Wexford…

    We basically have two competitions in each code: the All County Leagues, and then the club championships.

    The Leagues are very much a secondary competition, and to be honest, are not taken particularly seriously. Obviously you don’t want to lose matches, but nobody’s heartbroken if you do. Clubs play without their county players and there’s never an issue over this.

    There’s the odd tweak in structure from time to time, but generally, clubs are split into divisions that are more or less in line with their championship status. So, the 12 senior clubs in both hurling and football makes up Divisons 1A and 1B, the 12 intermediate clubs in both make up 2A and 2B, etc.

    Football league generally begins around mid-February. Hurling a week or two later. Clubs generally play football one week, hurling the next week, and so on. There’s 48 clubs in Wexford right now and all bar five or six are dual clubs, so fixtures have to be split that way.

    Anyway, you’d expect to have three or four football league matches played by the end of March, and hopefully three hurling games played too. Then the club championships start in April.

    These are also based on two groups of six in each grade, played on a round-robin basis, but suddenly it gets taken a lot more seriously!

    Generally two rounds of football and two rounds of hurling played before early May, when the county teams swing into action. Club championship then takes a break as long as the county sides are involved. Remaining rounds of the league are usually played off during this time (remember, clubs play without county players).

    When the county teams are out, it’s back to club championship action, again with football one week, hurling the next. Group stages should be complete by end of August. Knock-out stages then with quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final. All the time, football one week, hurling the next. And all with a view to getting all championships finished off in time for the winners to take part in the provincial championships.

    We’d have four districts here in Wexford – Gorey, Enniscorthy, New Ross, and Wexford town. The obvious problem would be where to fit them in to the championships. They can’t go into the group stages of the senior championships, because the intermediate and junior clubs play their groups games on the same weekends.

    Some people sometimes suggest that there’d be a separate knock-out competition between the four districts, for the ‘right’ to enter the senior championships at the quarter-final stages. I again fail to see how it could be done. It couldn’t be played before county teams are knocked out, unless the district teams were willing to play without county players from intermediate/junior clubs. Holding it after that would hold up the resumption of the ordinary club championships by at least a week, and probably by two.

    And even then if they went into the senior championships quarter-finals, it affects the lower grades too, because normally intermediate and junior quarter-finals in the same code would be fixed for the same weekends.

    You know, this post is too bloody long already. Will come back it to it later….if anybody else seems interested either!

    Thanks again for the replies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 738 ✭✭✭ Stationmaster


    I could be wrong but I don't think there is a divisional system really in other counties bar Kerry and Cork? They are both well established so seem to have gotten over a lot of the possible issues you raise.

    In Clare, every so often an amalgamation comes together usually involving just 2/3 neighbouring clubs. They are generally not successful though. The Faughs (Eire Og Ennis and St Josephs Doora Barefield) won a senior football title in the early 90's and Brian Boru's (Tulla, Bodyke and Killanena) won a senior hurling title in the late 70's but I can't think of any other successful time in my memory.

    There's divisions here alright but they most of them are disbanded at this stage and don't even run internal competitions.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,797 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    It operated in Mayo up until recently enough. We had North, South, East & West Mayo teams competing in 2000.

    West Mayo also got a team together for the 2010 Championship but it only lasted a couple of years.

    Main reason they didn't work was down to the politics and in-fighting. A shame really because we draw heavily from Senior clubs and there's talent out there that doesn't really get a look in.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,930 jr86


    PARlance wrote: »
    It operated in Mayo up until recently enough. We had North, South, East & West Mayo teams competing in 2000.

    West Mayo also got a team together for the 2010 Championship but it only lasted a couple of years.

    Main reason they didn't work was down to the politics and in-fighting. A shame really because we draw heavily from Senior clubs and there's talent out there that doesn't really get a look in.

    Never knew it was that recent at all.

    Only similar thing I recall in Galway was a Connemara divisional side back around 1999-2002 made up of intermediate and junior Connemara sides. Didn't last long at all, and I don't think they ever won a championship game

    I remember playing an amalgamated side once in under 21 over a decade ago and half the players didn't even know each others' names. My marker told me they hadn't even trained before the game and it was all a complete mess


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 547 Duffryman


    I could be wrong but I don't think there is a divisional system really in other counties bar Kerry and Cork?
    .


    Good point. Large part of my reason for raising the issue at all was to see how it actually operates in other counties. Maybe it's just the case that in most counties, it doesn't operate at all.

    As an aside, I didn't know until recently that Kerry has separate things they call the club championships and then the county championship. And even then, didn't know how they fit together until it was explained in that post above.

    Seems to be the case that intermediate and junior players get no championship action after May, unless they’re picked for one of the divisional teams? I know that wouldn’t go down well here in Wexford.

    Also, if that county championship is run on a knock-out basis, most of the 9 divisional teams are only going to get one or two games anyway?

    As an outsider, I’d have to wonder if that system really does give intermediate/junior players a greater chance to shine than running their own championships later in the year, on a group stage followed by knock-out basis.

    But hey, I’m not knocking Kerry football, or what works for them…..


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,061 ✭✭✭ Boom__Boom


    A key point is that the divisional sides don't only operate at senior level, they operate at underage level as well. This means the better lads from smaller clubs will be playing alongside and against better players which aids their devolpment. A club can opt in to the divisional side at some age levels but opt out at others if they have a strong age crop and feel they will be competitive. The fact that divisional sides don't just come together for adult level helps in terms of buy-in/loyalty/lads not being strangers to one another. The divisional boards tend to do a fairly good job in appointing decent managers/coaches which helps as well - one example is the East Kerry minors had Seamus Moynihan managing them for 2 years recently. At minor and U21 level I definitely think it makes it far less likely that lads from smaller club are overlooked. There was players from 41 different clubs in Kerry represented in the minor five in a row.

    Also the divisional competitions between clubs tend to be fairly competitive affairs as all the games are basically local derbies. Lads who played together for the division one week playing against each other for their club a week later.
    One downside of these is that these competitions are run once everything else is completed at the end of the year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,797 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    jr86 wrote: »
    Never knew it was that recent at all.

    Yip, was surprised myself tbh. Group 3.

    http://www.advertiser.ie/mayo/article/21993/mayo-club-championship-rounds-announced


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 547 Duffryman


    Boom__Boom wrote: »
    A key point is that the divisional sides don't only operate at senior level, they operate at underage level as well.

    Didn't know that. Would this take the place of county development squads, or does it operate alongside those squads?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 547 Duffryman


    PARlance wrote: »

    That'd lead to one of the situations I was wondering about initially.

    Clubs feeding into that West Mayo team couldn't play their intermediate/junior group games on the same weekends as senior group games.

    Probably a bit more leeway on this somewhere like Mayo (where I'm guessing the hurling championship doesn't take up much time). Senior football group games one week, intermediate/junior football group games the next week, perhaps?

    Again though, wouldn't work here in Wexford, where it normally goes football one weekend, hurling the next. Not much scope there for the intermediate or junior player who's picked for a district team, but who needs to play with his own club as well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,061 ✭✭✭ Boom__Boom


    Duffryman wrote: »
    Didn't know that. Would this take the place of county development squads, or does it operate alongside those squads?

    Alongside development squads.


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