SOUTH West clubs have again rejected relegation in the junior A hurling championship.
This was the main talking point after the first meeting of the South-West GAA Board in Dunmanway on Monday night.
This was after clubs had accepted the continuation of relegation in junior A football, as has been the case for the past three seasons. In football, the clubs voted to change from the existing system of relegating the bottom two clubs each season to the new system adopted by the county board in 2016.
Under this new system a team must finish in the bottom two twice in the space of three years before suffering relegation. This means there will not be any automatic relegation in the junior A football in 2017.
Concern was expressed that under the old system of straight relegation the second teams of senior clubs who were relegated to junior B were proving much too good for the genuine junior B clubs. The new three-year system should help to solve that problem to some extent.
However, when it came to junior hurling, the clubs were in a much more constrained mood. The fact that there are only 12 teams in junior A hurling militated against those who favoured relegation. Even though there was general agreement that junior hurling in West Cork needs remedial action, the clubs didn’t see relegation as the answer to the problem and voted overwhelmingly against relegation.
The grading of all teams will now revert to the CCC in hurling as has been the case in the past.
The formats for the various championships were decided with both the junior A football and hurling being run on a losers’ group system, while the C and D competitions will be straight knock-out, as will all the U21 championships.
Concern was expressed about the county board’s new proposals for junior and U21, which will see the county play-offs doubled from the eight divisional winners to 16 teams. Where dates will be found for the newly extended championships is a cause of major concern.
Concern was expressed that Carbery selectors are not in place yet in either football or hurling and, with players enquiring about the situation, the urgency of getting mentors was stressed.
The issue of the Mícheál Holland Cup hurling competition and the Paddy Minihane football competition was aired, with agreement that the present situation could not be allowed to continue. During the past few seasons, although the competitions began early in the season, they were rarely finished before November. The football competition caters for senior teams while the hurling caters for intermediate. The possibility of a one-off game in each competition, possibly involving the Carbery All-Star junior teams, is to be looked into.
The starting dates for the junior football leagues, sections 1 and 2, will be February 11th/12th, with sections 3 and 4 to begin on February 25th/26th. The junior hurling leagues, sections 1 and 2, will begin on March 25th/26th.
The good news at the meeting was the appointment of two new officers. Pat O’Flynn, Ballinascarthy, has been appointed as treasurer in succession to Patjoe Connolly of Bantry, and Don Desmond, Bandon, has been appointed development officer, in succession to Finian O’Sullivan, Bantry.
The three board members elected to the executive were David Whyte, St Mary’s; Donal Leahy, Tadhg MacCárthaigh; and John O’Driscoll, O’Donovan Rossa.