Big questions as families facing clash of All Ireland and Club championship ties
It has been another very exciting weekend of first-rate club championship action in Tyrone GAA and Gaels continue to be excited with a taste for the club scene taking centre-stage, the all Ireland Senior Football Championship final in Croke Park on Sunday and then the eagerly awaited all Ireland ladies Intermediate Football Championship final on Sunday week (24th September).
Following today’s matches, the Tyrone GAA CCC has released another major programme of matches for the next round of Junior, Intermediate and Senior Club championship for next weekend. But it has not gone down well with many Red Hand Gaels who are now facing the prospect of a clash between choosing their club players in the Tyrone championship or their ladies players in the All Ireland final.
Indeed there have even been a few eyebrows raised as one Club championship tie, Omagh v Ardboe, has been fixed for this coming Wednesday night at 8pm in the Athletic Grounds, Armagh. Yes, it is a historic first as an Armagh venue will play host to a Tyrone club championship game.
Firstly we should say that the Tyrone CCC should be complimented on the running of the 2017 programme of leagues and championships in Tyrone, with the league at the playoff stages by early September and the club championship now well underway.
However, we think it should be questioned regarding the decision to hold club championship games on Sunday while the Tyrone ladies team contest an All Ireland final in Croke Park. In particular, the decision has been painted more prominently with the news that it has meant a clash for players within the one family (and probably others too). Errigal Ciaran will meet Carrickmore in an intriguing contest in the quarter-final of the Tyrone SFC next Sunday evening and Eoin Quinn will be in the Errigal line-up while his sister, Shannon, plays for Tyrone ladies in Croke Park. It is not the only such occurrence either.
Indeed we are aware of other examples too within both camps where this is providing a direct clash. A double bill earlier in the day in Killyclogher, will also see players in the ladies county team having to clash with their own club in the Tyrone Senior Championship. That’s not to mention the fact that many gaels in Tyrone had planned to make the journey to support the Tyrone ladies on Sunday 24th but now find their club in action on the same day.
Donna McGroarty, a sister of both Eoin and Shannon, highlighted her thoughts this evening on social media.
“This afternoon I had the privilege of watching my club Aireagal Chiaráin progress to the quarter final of the championship, which featured my brother and cousin in the starting team. As customary after championship football, I returned back home to my parents house to discuss the highs and lows of the match. However the atmosphere swiftly changed when I walked into the house as I found my sister Shannon Cunningham and my father, Paudge Quinn Carmel Quinn up in arms. I couldn’t understand what the problem would be… sure our club was through to the quarter final and Shannon was on a high preparing for an All Ireland Final next Sunday. Little did I realise that the powers that be in Tyrone had released club championship fixtures for next weekend. Unbelievably the Tyrone County Board Fixtures Committee had fixed Aireagal Chiaráin quarter final for Sunday evening despite the fact that this same club has 5 representatives playing in Croke park the same day in an All Ireland Final. Its hard not to see that this decision to go ahead with this fixtures has nothing to do with the fact that it is indeed women playing an All Ireland Final as opposed to men.”
“On a personal note, my father has played football for his club and indeed for this same county at senior level for many years, even having the privilege of representing Tyrone (yes the same County that his daughter is now representing) on All Ireland Final day. His reward for those years of service to his county is to now choose between going to watch his daughter play in Croke Park on All Ireland Final Day at 2.30 or to stay at home and go and watch his only son line out for his club on Championship Quarter Final day at 6pm.”
“Please let me make it clear that this message is absolutely no reflection on my club. I have no doubt that many club gaels, both male and female will have intended to travel to Dublin to support their 5 representations on what is a monumental day for any club. This message is 100% geared towards the absolute eejits (I really want to say more) in the Tyrone fixtures committee that have showed absolutely no regard, never mind respect, towards the female footballers of this county, who have put in months, of preparation and hard work all with the aim and goal of bringing an All Ireland Final Cup back to their county.”
“I along with many others, only hope that there is someone with common sense somewhere in the fixtures committee and that these club fixtures next Sunday be rearraneged for an alternative day. Lets not have the people of Tyrone choose between their club or county or indeed their son or daughter!”
While the decision to host a Tyrone Club championship game in Armagh this week is questionable, we do believe this decision by Tyrone GAA would seriously need to be addressed. In a season which has been excellent in terms of success for Tyrone GAA and has been great to date in respect of the organisation of games, etc… we hope that such a change would take place to redeem this situation.
Indeed we notice that Mayo GAA, who actually won through to the all Ireland Senior Final, have less time to play their senior club championship matches, yet have announced they will be keeping Sunday 24th September free to allow for support for the Mayo ladies in the All Ireland Final.