By John Foley
THE Carlow & District Football League has hit back at suggestions they did not properly consult with clubs before deciding to cancel the 2019-20 season.
In a statement released to clubs on 21 May, the league said they had decided not to complete the season which was put on hold in March because it posed “many problems for clubs, coaches, managers, players, referees and volunteers.”
They said the season was “broken and beyond repair” and rather than playing the remaining games in August and September, they would instead cancel the remainder of the season and start afresh in September.
However, the decision met with a mixed response. Speaking to The Nationalist last week, New Oak manager Brian Quigley said the league had not consulted properly with clubs.
“We think the league has rushed the decision with very little consultation with clubs,” he said. “They only asked us whether or not we wanted to finish the season. There were no ideas suggested, no proposals.”
However, Carlow & District Football League chairman Noel Jordan has said clubs were contacted by letter on 5 May and by phone as a path towards a resumption of football was plotted.
“The fact is that most clubs made a serious effort in discussing the situation with their committees and players. On receiving feedback from the clubs it became very clear that most clubs wanted the executive committee to draw a line under the 2019 season and concentrate on getting prepared for the 2021 season,” Noel said.
“So for anyone to suggest that there was very little consultation with our clubs is factually wrong. It’s also important to note that 60% of clubs decided to end the 2019 season. This is not about any one club. It’s about the 1800 registered players, club committees, referees and volunteers. Our decision to end the season was not taken lightly, the integrity of all divisions and player welfare was of major importance when making our decision.”
At the time games came to an end in March, the race for The Nationalist Premier Division was heating up with Slaney Rovers on top of the table on 23 points after 13 games played. Crettyard were just two points behind on 21 after 10 games played. New Oak were also on 21 points with a further game in hand.
It’s understood the league will provide clubs with information on the structure of the new season in due course. The 2020 Over-35s season will be cancelled completely as it is played during the summer months.
Kilree Celtic will still be promoted to The Nationalist Premier Division next season having won the Division One trophy just before the Covid-19 outbreak forced the game to a standstill. Vale Wanderers will still be considered Youths Division champions having won the league before the shutdown.
There is set to be an extra team in The Nationalist Premier Division next season with no relegation from that division or from Division One.
There will be no winner of the Premier Division or Division 2.