Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Joe Kernan: Ulster sides left to lament lack of club v county disputes

The perennial club v county issue is traditionally highlighted in mid-summer.

That’s when the cry goes up that club players are not seeing enough action because matches tend to be called off if some of them happen to be involved with their county sides.

There is no chance of this now becoming a headache in seven Ulster counties, though.

Antrim, Derry, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Cavan and Armagh have all been dismissed from the All-Ireland qualifiers and will be able from here on in to focus more strongly on domestic matters.

They will do this with some reluctance, of course, whether they care to admit it or not.

Wouldn’t they just give anything to be still immersed in the race for the Sam Maguire Cup? You bet they would.

While there is no doubt that club footballers at all levels deserve to enjoy their quota of action in high summer when the weather is usually kind and pitches in pristine condition, the performance of any county side is generally indicative of the overall health of football within that county.

It is reasonable to deduct then that club affairs will now dominate in all seven counties and these will be conducted far from the glare of the national spotlight.

For all that, some fine club teams will now be brought up to full strength as they bid to claim domestic glory. Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh), Burren (Down), St Gall’s (Antrim), Cavan Gaels (Cavan), Clontibret (Monaghan) and Newtownbutler (Fermanagh) are among sides that are very much to the fore in the hunt for silverware in their respective counties.

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