Club ladies football returns on July 19

Cavan LGFA aim to play SFC final on September 5

Club ladies football in Cavan will resume on July 19 with league fixtures, with the championships set to throw in on August 9, it has been confirmed.

Chairperson of the Cavan ladies football county board Carol Kiernan stated that there is “a real air of positivity” around the ladies football scene with competitive action again on the horizon but stressed that clubs must co-operate to the fullest degree given the time constraints involved in running off competitions.

“We have been moving them forwards, backwards and every which way, WhatsApps are going like mad and it’s great to see it. There’s a bit of excitement and managers are back getting teams going,” Kiernan told The Anglo-Celt on Monday.

“Everybody has a very tight window with camogie and men’s football so we had to be very prudent with our dates. In order to ensure a safe return, we will have a league where there will be no promotion or relegation and that’s starting on Sunday July 19, again with social distancing and adhering to guidelines.

“We felt this was the best option to go with because we didn’t want clubs going to look for challenge games, we felt it was better that we structured these games and had them safe and not to have clubs going out of the county and so on.

“The LGFA injury fund is back in place from this Wednesday evening (today) and we will then have two or three rounds of the league. Our championship is starting on Sunday August 9.

“Our games will run around 11.30am. Men’s fixtures have always been predominantly around 2-3pm so this allows time for sanitisation and the proper protocols between the women’s and men’s games.

“The championship finals in senior and junior will be on Saturday September 5 and the intermediate final will be the following Saturday.

“The Senior Championship will be two groups of four and the intermediate will be three groups of three and one group of four. In the junior, I think we will possibly have eight teams, two groups of four. We are predominantly going to go with Saturday mornings for underage and we are going with U12s, U14s and U16s.”

The chairperson paid tribute to the work of her fixtures committee, headed by Stephen Hughes, and reiterated the need for clubs to adhere strictly to schedules.

“We had our executive meeting on Saturday evening and Stephen presented his fixtures. There can be no opportunism this year or people saying ‘we can’t do this’.

“The fixtures are there, if you want to play, that’s it. There is absolutely not one date that can be manoeuvred.

“There has been a serious amount of work done by Stephen and his committee on fixtures, working collaboratively with camogie and with Gerry Sheridan of the CCC in the men’s board.

“It’s to ensure there is a little bit of help and support within the clubs and that the field is not going to be abused, we want it as frictionless as possible.”

Meanwhile, on the inter-county scene, there has been some annoyance in Ulster due to the nature of the seeding system the LGFA have opted for in the All-Ireland Senior Championship. Five of the 12 senior teams in the country - Tyrone, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal and Armagh – are senior yet no team from the northern province has been seeded.

“The seeding system has remained, the seedings are Cork, Dublin, Mayo and Galway. We did our best last week to try to get them to move on that.

“No team from Ulster is seeded yet in the intermediate, the LGFA didn’t follow the same formula, Westmeath, who were relegated from senior last year, were seeded.

“The inter-county team will return to training on September 16 and then around October 16 there will be a round robin game. There will be two weeks between each game in the competition.

Schedule

“The county championship will be over before that starts hopefully. We have a directive from Ulster that all our games are to be completed by September 15 because they are going to have a provincial club championship.”

The issue of provincial inter-county senior competitions was due to be discussed at a national meeting last week but was left aside due to the death of a father of a leading official.

“We would be quite happy that three Sundays would hold a provincial senior championship in Ulster. The girls themselves would like to play it but the reality is the dates are very, very tight. There’s no perfect balance to be struck. You want to look after your club players and your inter-county players.

“There is going to be no conclusion of the National League. Cavan were going very, very well but that’s unfortunately it.

“Overall it’s very positive. The only thing that’s worrying is that Covid cases worldwide are increasing and in Germany there has been a spike. That is a worry. And that’s another reason why we must stick to our dates, nobody knows when we may have to pull the plug.

“Hopefully we don’t but there are an awful lot more important things. There are girls who haven’t gone back to work yet, kids going back to school and college in September after six months off. People not knowing whether they have jobs… It’s great that football is coming back and hopefully things will run smoothly.”

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