CLUBS in the Donegal Schoolboys/Youth League have voted against a return to a winter season.
At tonight’s AGM in the Mount Errigal Hotel, delegates were firmly in favour of retaining the current calendar season format.
Only seven delegates voted in favour of a motion, tabled by Milford United, calling for the League to revert to an August-June playing season. Milford proposed that a short season from February-June 2020 be played to facilitate the move.
However, just seven green cards went up in favour of the move, with all the rest flicking the red ‘no’ cards into the air.
Gweedore United had seconded the Milford motion.
Milford circulated a page outlining their reasons, under various headings, including ‘training/coaching’, ‘matches’ and ‘disadvantages of the summer season’.
Milford argued that players fall into a routine when they return to school in September and there is no exam pressure.
Their points included one noting a lack of clashes with other sports and that longer days in the second half of the winter campaign would allow flexibility for scheduling games.
Milford contest that getting volunteers is harder in the summer season, while a high volume of players who work during the summer months was also put forward, as was an increasing number of people going on holiday.
Tony McNamee, the League’s disciplinary secretary, pointed out that few clubs are able to host floodlit matches and would mean for no flexibility during a winter season. He also suggested that a lack of referees could prove problematic.
Karl McHugh, who is the South Donegal fixtures secretary, said it would be ‘impossible to go back as you wouldn’t get fixtures in for the Saturday and Sunday’.
He said: “You have Premier Division, First Division games, Saturday teams and Sunday teams: When would we play?”
Kieran McGrath, the Letterkenny/North West Fixtures Secretary and Referees Appointments Officer, added: “One team at under-12 level have four teams. Time slots alone would be an issue. Summer football gives massive flexibility.”
Another Milford motion, asking for flexibility on the movement of players between A and B teams, was also soundly defeated.
There was little change to the officer board of the Donegal Schoolboys/Youth League with the following officers elected: Chairman – PJ Kavanagh; Vice Chair – John Livesley; Treasurer – Dessie Kelly; Assistant Secretary – Kieran McGrath; Assistant Treasurer – Pat McGhee and Chris Dunnion; Disciplinary Secretary – Tony McNamee; Registrations – PJ Kavanagh; Football Development Officer – Denis McDaid; SFAI Rep – Charlie Shields.
Kieran McGrath agreed to co-ordinate referee appointments in the East as well as the Letterkenny/North West area, but he warned: “I have reservations as I believe gams have been called off or cancelled in the east at the very last minute.
“have no exposure to the east, so fixtures will need to be with me on a Monday evening for the next week and I won’t be taking referees out of games once they’re put in.”
Karl McHugh will take charge of referee appointments in the south while each area will appoint their own PRO.
In 2019, there were 3,224 players registered – down from 3,236 in 2018 with 172 in the Youth League – while Treasurer Dessie Kelly reported a healthy profit of €22,585 for the year gone by.