Has IFA made a hash of its re-organisation?

This looks like a proverbial can of worms. The Irish News reports that a complex points system “scored on various criteria, including facilities, underage structures, financial planning, coaching aptitude and success on the field” has seen Donegal Celtic excluded from a reduced IFA Premier League next year, despite them effectively finishing five places ahead of Bangor, who gained promotion from the Intermediate league. Understandably, the manager is livid:

We’d 610 points last year and we’ve 543 points this year, so somebody has got their sums wrong,” slammed Bonner. “Every obstacle that has been put in front of us we’ve jumped it. Now, I’ll have to stand in front of 380 members and tell them we got to the semi-finals of the Irish Cup and that we finished in 11th place, but we’re no longer in senior football because there is a team [Bangor] in ahead of us who have not competed at senior level for 12 years.” [Emphasis added]

Hmmm… It looks like the IFA may have some explaining to do… Bonner adds to the intrigue when he reveals there is a dispute between the IFA and the Sports Council over £800,000 supposedly ear marked for ground improvements at Celtic.

Adds: It should be noted that fifth-placed Portadown also lose the place in the top flight for not filling in their forms in time. Bureaucracy gone mad!!

  • willowfield

    You think North Belfast Catholics are uninterested in the GAA?

    I think, given the existence of Cliftonville, they are more likely to be interested in local football and less likely to be distracted by the GAA, than those in west Belfast.

    In west Belfast, the absence of a senior club until very recent times, has enabled GAA to grow more easily. I also believe that GAA has been given considerable (low key) political support in west Belfast and has grown in importance very rapidly in recent years.

    My father-in-law, who is from the Falls, tells me that when he was growing up – in the 60s and 70s – no-one there was really interested in GAA, which was considered to be a “culchie” thing. Football and boxing were the main sports, and that was 20 years after the demise of Belfast Celtic.

    So – even though there was no senior team (although Distillery was there until 1971) – at least until the 1980s, GAA was still not very big and people still followed football (Glasgow Celtic) and played football more than GAA.

    It seems to me that since the 1980s there has been major growth in GAA in west Belfast. This growth has coincided with the growth of militant nationalism and I suspect the two are connected in some way.

    The two factors, then – demise of Belfast Celtic and growth of GAA – while connected, are still separate factors to a degree.

    That’s not very clear, I know, but I’m thinking and typing quickly.

  • Mick Fealty

    For anyone who wants to read the unremittingly sad tale of Belfast Celtic Padraig Coyle’s Paradise Lost and Found is excellent value. It even contains an article on that ‘fateful’ day by a cub reporter called James Kelly.

    The demise of the club certainly had a lot to do with that incident on that day in Windsor Park. But willow is right when he says no one forced them out. Coyle also notes that no club missed them more than Linfield. The heart went out of the owners at a time when they had a time at the top of their force.

    Are we not getting a little bit closer to the truth when we say that soccer has been problematic for both communities since, almost alone in team sports codes both play it and support it. Sectarianism was thus therefore always bound to come into the equation.

    For instance, Distillery’s departure from Grosvenor Park 1971, after a firebomb attack, is a rarely discussed in these threads, or anywhere else, but was likely to have been as much of a sectarian problem in the midst of some of the most turbulent times the city had ever seen.

    Is there not a sense coming through the course of this thread that sectarianism is perhaps a convenient hook upon which to throw other, more complex problems?

  • pfhl

    PFHL

    Has anybody suggested the best 12 footballing sides should be in the top division of NI football?

    Yes, I have.

    Posted by willowfield on May 16, 2008 @ 08:15 AM

    Sorry I had not noticed your post but nice that we agree on something. I believe we have argued in the past.

    That “system” (which includes numerous off field criteria) is not an IFA “system”. It is a UEFA “system”, used across Europe.

    On the issue of the scoring matrix for entry into the Invitational League, Donegal Celtic FC accepted that “system”, and proceeded in full knowledge of that “system”, without complaint.

    Posted by Realist on May 16, 2008 @ 08:45 AM

    I know DC supported the decision, it’s there own fault. I am not arguing with that. I am simply saying I do not agree with the system being used. As a football fan I wish to see football decided on the pitch however and my two posts simply highlight this. I wil give you your point it is a UEFA system. Are the IFA forced into accepting this system? I doubt it from my knowledge of the SPL or EPL. The two leagues who made up 3/4 of the major european finals this season. They concentrate on football.

    I don’t really care about Irish league football. I am more likely to watch the EPL or the SPL. I just found out about this system on the news the other day. I have no objections to DC not being in it and was only stating that judging teams on footballing ability seems to make sense to me. I also use the example of “mighty” Leeds as a reason how this system is a bit shit and pointless. I do not care if it came from Blatter himself. Tight tops for woman footballers, ha ha. Realist, it is good to see you don’t argue for the system itself. Do you agree it is a bit shit? I do believe irish football is a joke for accepting this system. Why not just take guidence from our successful neighbours?

  • pfhl

    It seems to me that since the 1980s there has been major growth in GAA in west Belfast. This growth has coincided with the growth of militant nationalism and I suspect the two are connected in some way.

    Posted by willowfield on May 16, 2008 @ 12:36 PM.

    I thought militant nationalism had existed in West Belfast before the 80’s. Are you sure the support of the GAA has not increased since the 80’s with the overall level of Ulster football since DOwn won in 91′ and the following three trips of Sam to Ulster? Is it unbelievable that the quality of football, compared to the Irish League, on show brought people to the GAA? Why equate the GAA with militant nationalism?

    I don’t even know where you get the notion of little intrest until the 1980’s. from 1945 to 1966 the senior championship only left the city once. Maybe it suits your agenda to think the GAA only grew thanks to the IRA. West belfast has always been a major force in Antrim GAA. You may be confused as St’ Galls only became a major force in the 80’s but you have forgot that clubs such as St’ Johns and Rossa drew their support from the west of the city.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    My father-in-law, who is from the Falls, tells me that when he was growing up – in the 60s and 70s – no-one there was really interested in GAA, which was considered to be a “culchie” thing. Football and boxing were the main sports, and that was 20 years after the demise of Belfast Celtic.

    Sounds pretty much like what was said about much of south Dublin and GAA during the same period, up until Heffo’s Army.

    It seems to me that since the 1980s there has been major growth in GAA in west Belfast. This growth has coincided with the growth of militant nationalism and I suspect the two are connected in some way.

    There has been a major growth in GAA in south Dublin, since the 1980s. Cuala GAA club in Dalkey (of all places) were Dublin and Leinster minor football champions in 2006, for example.

    Cuala now have 45 teams at all levels playing GAA.

    I can assure you that there has been no growth of militant nationalism in Dalkey or Dún Laoghaire in general during this period.

  • Realist

    pfhl,

    “Realist, it is good to see you don’t argue for the system itself. Do you agree it is a bit shit?”

    In common with all Clubs involved, I firmly believe that, for longer term development of the game here, the system had to be about more than on field results.

    The relative weighting of the various scoring crieria is something that I would consider debatable.

    However, it doesn’t matter what I think – the salient point to note is that all clubs agreed and accepted the deck placed in front of them.

    “Why not just take guidence from our successful neighbours?”

    It is often argued on Slugger that the eirecom league leaves the Irish League standing when it comes to professionalism and success – I largely agree with that.

    Interestingly, the model adopted by the IFA was based on that used by the FAI to establish their “new” Premiership.

    As has been mentioned earlier in the thread, Dundalk FC found themselves in a very similar position as Donegal Celtic FC do now.

  • Realist

    kensei,

    “That is irrelevant, frankly. Sources of funding for Irish League clubs are precarious at best and if the money still remains in place and was not delivered on time due to IFA incompetence they must take some culpability. The question is not whether DC should just have made do, but if the money was there would they have likely met standard”

    It is wholly relevant.

    Bangor FC got no earmarked funds, Instiute FC got no earmarked funds, other clubs got no earmarked funds – I’m sure, like DC, they would have put them to good use in accumulating points.

    All clubs were in the same boat.

    “From the coverage it seems clear that DC were broadsided by this”

    You’ll need to explain that in detail to me – how were DC “broadsided”?

    “Out of interest, did the IFA provide any consultative services through the year to recommend to clubs how to get through the process?”

    The scoring matrix was agreed and accepted by ALL clubs.

    The detail pertaining to it was explained to ALL clubs.

    As there was no “pass mark” to the system, there was no “getting through it”.

    Best 12 to be invited – understood by ALL Clubs.

    “Or indeed provide an intermediate score in order to give teams a wake up call?”

    Yes.

    Clubs were provided with intermediate scores – and had the right to appeal (as Donegal Celtic did successfully) during the process.

    The intermediate scores, revealed to ALL clubs how ALL Clubs were scoring.

    “No Realist, I’m suggesting that the IFA could have foresaw the reaction to this. In their press release for the information they could have had something like “Aware the difficulties with DC in the past, however this is strictly based on the criteria and changing them at this point would lead to legal action by other clubs, the IFA remains committed to an equality agenda and will work with DC to help them meet standard for future and are sure they will bounce back.”.

    On this issue, the IFA have absolutely, demonstrably, shown commitment to an “equality agenda”.

    No favouritism, no singling out. No singling out on account of who you are, or what you are.

    A League Of Equals.

    Perhaps the IFA have written to Donegal Celtic FC privately?

    Perhaps they will wait until after the appeal?

    “any Unionist response here has seemingly been “Tough”. There is a lack of empathy and an emotional deafness”

    I write on the thread as an Irish League football fan, not as a Unionist.

    I have made my views on DC not making the grade.

    It is tough for them – I can understand how gutted their true supporters must feel.

    I can fully understand how gutted the true supporters of Portadown FC feel too – I imagine if the rules had of been bent to allow their application to be accepted, there would have been cries from certain quarters that the IFA had bent to facilitate a club with a largely unionist fanbase.

    For years the cry has been the IFA must stick, transparantly, by their rules.

    They have done so – no green cards, no orange cards.

    “potential cachement should have had some weight thrown in the criteria”

    Actual attendances certainly did.

    Unfortunately, swathes of the football supporting public in West Belfast snubbed their local club in favour of watching British Clubs like Celtic, Manchester United, Liverpool etc.

    You’ve reminded me of a Radio Ulster debate I listened to during the season when DC were first promoted into the senior ranks – the debate was about Belfast Celtic.

    A caller, from West Belfast,talked of his love for Belfast Celtic (although too young to have ever seen them play) and how he supported any team wearing the famous green and white hoops.

    He went on to say, because of that, he was a big fan of the Club nearest to him who wore the hoops – Shamrock Rovers!

    Says a lot.

    From memory, I think “potential fanbase” was also factored in – I’ll need to double check that,but it’ll not be to next week.

    Seimi,

    “However, as has been pointed out, DC agreed to abide by it, as did Portadown, and now both must accept it”

    Interesting post.

    Just to point out, Portadown FC’s application to join the League was not considered by the IFA – their score, doesn’t even enter into the equation.

    They were, in effect, “non runners”.

  • Realist

    A N Other,

    “As for my latest verbal misdemeanour, I simply managed to lose my cool…again!

    However, if you read my original post, and then Realist’s reply to it, I hope you can see where I’m coming from.

    I was actually fuming with him…”

    If I miscontrued the post in question, I apologise unreservedly.

    If I misrepresented you, I apologise unreservedly.

    The bare words I quoted, at face value, shocked and alarmed me.

    Any notion that religious persuasion/political allegiance should be a factor in any part of the process would abhor me.

  • pfhl

    It is often argued on Slugger that the eirecom league leaves the Irish League standing when it comes to professionalism and success – I largely agree with that.

    Interestingly, the model adopted by the IFA was based on that used by the FAI to establish their “new” Premiership.

    As has been mentioned earlier in the thread, Dundalk FC found themselves in a very similar position as Donegal Celtic FC do now.

    Posted by Realist on May 16, 2008 @ 06:43 PM

    I asked compared to our succesful neighbours, meaning the SPL and EPL. Do you know of them? The UEFA cup teams that qualify from the Eircom league enter at the same qualifying stage as Man City who are only in it on Fair play. That is how succesful the eircom league is. I dont want to start a tirade against the eircom league but it is terrible. The Champions league team(Derry City) in 2007 got beat by an armenian team in the first round. One team got past the first qualifying round but got knocked out in the second. So this equates to not a single Eircom team playing in a major European competition as they could not reach the first round. How do you think of the eircom league when i said succesful?

  • kensei

    willow

    I think, given the existence of Cliftonville, they are more likely to be interested in local football and less likely to be distracted by the GAA, than those in west Belfast.

    People aren’t “distracted” by the GAA, willow, and the presence of Cliftonville is pales in comparison to the fact that Nationalists tend to start playing GAA in primary school. Never much interested in it myself, but there are plenty of people in north Belfast that play it or head to Casement for a match. When I was St Malachy’s there were always a few good teams, IRC.

    I also couldn’t speak to actual attendences, but my granny was trying to convince me to go to Cliftonville last week and was saying when my uncle started going when he was a kid there weren’t many people. She could be wrong on that, but I guess the idea of growth in popularity doesn’t always run one way either.

    Realist

    You’ll need to explain that in detail to me – how were DC “broadsided”?

    Well, if you read any of the reports, it seems like it is a great surprise to them — they are demanding to know how they lost points. Check the BBC.

    On this issue, the IFA have absolutely, demonstrably, shown commitment to an “equality agenda”.

    No favouritism, no singling out. No singling out on account of who you are, or what you are.

    A League Of Equals.

    Perhaps the IFA have written to Donegal Celtic FC privately?

    Perhaps they will wait until after the appeal?

    I do believe that

    1. Football should the ultimate arbiter
    2. The mess up with the funds put some culpability on IFA

    but with that said if the IFA provided proper and timely intermediate support then really DC should have been better prepared.

    But most people aren’t going to take the time to investigate the full facts, and its not just me that’s had the initial reaction to seeing the headline — Sammy Morse, hardly a MOPEing Republican can speak to exactly the same reaction. And that means the smart PR is to tackle it head on.

    Whether the IFA has written to DC privately is irrelevant — the PR impact extends far further than that.

    I write on the thread as an Irish League football fan, not as a Unionist.

    Oh, but you do, whether you like it or not. You might say you feel for the fans etc, when pushed, but you have no real sensitivity of the issues surrounding it.

  • Realist

    pfhl,

    “I asked compared to our succesful neighbours, meaning the SPL and EPL. Do you know of them?”

    Yes, I do.

    I only take a passing interest in English football, and have very little interest at all in Scottish football.

    I am a supporter of the local game, within Northern Ireland – and have a growing interest in club football in the Republic Of Ireland…brought about by the development of the Setanta Cup.

    “The UEFA cup teams that qualify from the Eircom league enter at the same qualifying stage as Man City who are only in it on Fair play”

    Yes, I know.

    “That is how succesful the eircom league is”

    That’s all relative. Nobody in their right mind would expect the eirecom league to as successful a league as the Premiership in England.

    “I dont want to start a tirade against the eircom league but it is terrible.”

    I don’t agree that it is “terrible”.

    “The Champions league team(Derry City) in 2007 got beat by an armenian team in the first round”

    Yes, I know.

    They had a decent UEFA Cup run in the previous year.

    Shelbourne, in recent years, were a match away from the Champions League group stages too.

    “One team got past the first qualifying round but got knocked out in the second.”

    Yes, I know.

    “So this equates to not a single Eircom team playing in a major European competition as they could not reach the first round.”

    That is correct.

    “How do you think of the eircom league when i said succesful?”

    Because I would consider it a relatively more successful league than our local league in Northern Ireland.

  • pfhl

    i should have said Derry got knocked out at the first qualifying round. Im sure any football fan knew they were not in the group stages of the champions league.

  • pfhl

    “How do you think of the eircom league when i said succesful?”

    Because I would consider it a relatively more successful league than our local league in Northern Ireland.

    I never said relatively successful in my original post. I only said successful.

    They(Derry) had a decent UEFA Cup run in the previous year.

    the shelbourne point, im not sure what year you are talking about but two seasons ago they got past the first qualifying round. All this indicates is they were better than glentoran.

    Fair play to them but they got to the first round and got beat by an awful PSG team, who are no longer in the top division of french football.

  • Dewi

    Anyway -Cardiff’s goalie in 1927 was an IRA member who got thrown out of Ireland to avoid prison and 2 of the team were Jaffas who won English, Welsh and Irish cup finals (with Linfield)

    I’m an expert…………Come on Cardiff!!!

  • AN Other

    Realist,

    The analogy I was making between the currently untapped local soccer supporting potential in WB vs the successful branding of Munster Rugby has been alluded to by various other posters.

    I did caveat my comments with a warning beforehand, urging other Sluggerites to take on board the general (if crude) thrust of the comparison I was making, rather than reducing it to the level of “us” vs. “them”.

    So I’m surprised you found the comments shocking. However, seeing as your reply above was civil towards me, the least I can do, is (a) be mannerly and more importantly (b) provide additional clarification & analysis.

    There’s no need to repeat, ad nauseum, the main point behind this thread.

    Moreover, the emphasis should be placed going forward on the positive aspects a well-supported, good footballing side from the West of the City (ergo, ‘Catholic’ if you wish to use the term) could have an the IL as a whole.

    Calling a spade a spade, the vast majority of supporters who regularly follow the IL are from a Unionist/Protestant background (ie the support of Belfast’s “Big Two”).

    Personally, I couldn’t care less if the largest % of fans where ethnic Kosovor Separatists, who vote Alliance & drink Pimms.

    But you should get my point – the current product, as is, is stale, at best & the prospect of a well-supported side playing decent footie from a different background would improve the level of competition in the League, throw up a whole host of new, exciting ties (Belfast Celtic, for example vs. The Glens?) & may, MAY, actually help – in some small way – to bring the two communities together. (ie a previous poster’s(Willowfield?) positive experience in the pool room at Suffolk Road)

    Out if small acorns…etc, etc.

    Regardless of the grading criteria (& I’m not going to go over that old ground again), I firmly believe that the IL does need the support of the WB community.

    After a club in this area of Belfast would have a geographical monopoly & could grow into something very special. You only have to look at ‘regional’ eL sides such as Derry City, Drogheda & Cork to see what the effect a local team doing well can have on attendences.

    Perhaps, if one day this does occur, you’ll see less heading South to see the RoI – instead the same fans would go to Windsor to sample International Football?…

    No doubt, this debate will run & run.

    In any event, I hope I’ve clarified any confusion my previous posts may have caused & again to Beano & yourself – my apologies for the ‘heat of the moment’ stuff.

    All other comments I stand over though!!

    Regards,
    ANO

  • Realist

    kensei,

    “Well, if you read any of the reports, it seems like it is a great surprise to them—they are demanding to know how they lost points. Check the BBC”

    I know that they are hugely disappointed – I can empathise with that.

    I have no doubt that they will have everything they want clarified from the IFA, so clarified.

    The IFA possibly have to consult with the independent assessors on that.

    “I do believe that
    1. Football should the ultimate arbiter”

    But not the sole arbiter?

    “2. The mess up with the funds put some culpability on IFA”

    I agree.

    For this the IFA are culpable to ALL clubs affected by it.

    “But most people aren’t going to take the time to investigate the full facts”

    That weakens their arguement considerably – as in all walks of life.

    “And that means the smart PR is to tackle it head on”

    Amongst the most vociferous defenders of the IFA on this occassion are the true fans of Cliftonville FC, (Predominately from a nationalist background, as you know) voiceing their (plentiful) opinion on the Irish League fans forum.

    That’s an interesting “PR” development in itself.

    “Oh, but you do, whether you like it or not”

    Unlike some, my politics cames way behind my football in the list of things that are really important to me.

    My interest in football is because I am a football fan – not because I also happen to be a Unionist.

    I’d rather be at any football match, than listen to people talking politics any day of the week.

    “You might say you feel for the fans etc, when pushed, but you have no real sensitivity of the issues surrounding it”

    I genuinely understand the frustrations that true fans of both Donegal Celtic FC and Portadown FC.

    In all aspects in life, there are winners and losers.

    I have experienced both the elation of winning, and the despair of losing.

    I accept both, providing there was no cheating.

    Some people take losing out worse than others.

  • willowfield

    PFHL

    “It seems to me that since the 1980s there has been major growth in GAA in west Belfast. This growth has coincided with the growth of militant nationalism and I suspect the two are connected in some way.”

    I thought militant nationalism had existed in West Belfast before the 80’s.

    You are correct. I was referring to its growth since the 1980s.

    Are you sure the support of the GAA has not increased since the 80’s with the overall level of Ulster football since DOwn won in 91’ and the following three trips of Sam to Ulster?

    I have no doubt that has been a major factor.

    Is it unbelievable that the quality of football, compared to the Irish League, on show brought people to the GAA?

    To be honest, it is hard for me, as a football supporter, to understand the attraction of Gaelic football as a spectacle: I don’t find it entertaining, even compared to Irish League. But I have no doubt that many in the nationalist community do enjoy the sport and consider the quality to be good.

    Why equate the GAA with militant nationalism?

    Well, I guess because it is overtly nationalist, played exclusively by nationalists, and promoted by nationalists.

    Maybe it suits your agenda to think the GAA only grew thanks to the IRA.

    Except I don’t think that!

    West belfast has always been a major force in Antrim GAA. You may be confused as St’ Galls only became a major force in the 80’s but you have forgot that clubs such as St’ Johns and Rossa drew their support from the west of the city.

    I’m only going by what my father-in-law, born and brought up in the Falls, has told me.

  • Dewi

    Willow – who does your wife support by the way?

  • Realist

    A N Other,

    I see know the substance of your earlier points.

    Unfortunately, the West Belfast public didn’t support their local IL team.

    The “potential” did not materialise – even on promotion to the top tier of Northern Irish football, their crowds have been dreadfully disappointing.

    Lot’s of reasons for that, but that’s the situation.

    I fundamentally disagee with any notion that Donegal Celtic FC should have got a “bye” into the Invitational League, simple on account of the fact that they are a West Belfast Club, or that their fanbase is almost exclusively from a particular religious/politically minded background.

    What will not happen in this process is that the goalposts will be moved, after the result, because somebody who helped set up the goalposts doesn’t like the result.

  • Realist

    pfhl,

    Apologies, but I haven’t a clue where you’re going with your recent posts.

    Perhaps, you would be so good as to simply detail the point, with relevance to the DC situation, you are trying to make.

    If it is that the English & Scottish Premier Leagues are better than the Eirecom league, then that’s a given.

    Having said that, I would rather watch my local favourites against anybody, than go to any English or Scottish match.

  • Realist

    “Come on Cardiff!!”

    I’m with you Dewi…two Northern Ireland Internationals in the Bluebirds squad currently.

    I’ve Welsh relatives who live in Cardiff, which is a factor in my support for the day also.

    I have a sneaky feeling Cardiff will be celebrating this weekend….a visit to Ladbrokes will be made in the morning.

  • kensei

    But not the sole arbiter?

    Well, yes barring grounds of safety and the like. Moneyed clubs with brilliant facilities typically rise to the top without help: I see no reason to help them further.

    I know why they are doing it, it might well help the League in the long run but I just don’t like it.

    That weakens their arguement considerably – as in all walks of life.

    They won’t be making an argument. They will just continue to have a bad impression of the IFA.

    That’s an interesting “PR” development in itself.

    Haven’t had a chance to talk about it with any myself. I suspect football people will be better informed, in any case.

    My interest in football is because I am a football fan – not because I also happen to be a Unionist.

    I never said otherwise. But you can’t escape who are, whatever you do and you have displayed absolutely no sensitivity as to why this could be misconstrued, and why it is important to deal with that perception. It’s not my loss.

  • kensei

    Dewi

    No, Cardiff to get tanked and the torture of Peter Ridsdale as half time entertainment.

  • Realist

    kensei,

    “But not the sole arbiter?

    Well, yes barring grounds of safety and the like”

    The governing body of football in Europe does not agree with you. Not just a IFA outlook.

    “They will just continue to have a bad impression of the IFA”

    Such is life. I have a very bad impression (in fact, to the point of almost disillusionment) of the IFA myself currently, as it happens – nothing to do with the plight of DC or Portadown FC tho.

    “But you can’t escape who are, whatever you do”

    My Unionism is not the be all and end all in my life.

    “you have displayed absolutely no sensitivity as to why this could be misconstrued, and why it is important to deal with that perception”

    On the contrary – I discussed (before the results were known) that, if DC didn’t make the cut, it could be misconstrued…and why it could be misconstrued…in private meeetings with people directly involved in community relations.

    Fair process must, and will, prevail.

    “It’s not my loss”

    Very true.

    Off for a few refreshments – Bye for now.

  • kensei

    The governing body of football in Europe does not agree with you. Not just a IFA outlook.

    I’m sure they are worried about other things too, that’s their job. But I’d suggest a setup where football wasn’t the sole arbiter 99 times out of 100 would have problems attracting support.

    Such is life. I have a very bad impression (in fact, to the point of almost disillusionment) of the IFA myself currently, as it happens – nothing to do with the plight of DC or Portadown FC tho.

    But that rubs off on all of 6 county football. Not a very good start for a process that’s meant to be about getting more people in, is it?

    My Unionism is not the be all and end all in my life.

    I never said it was, but it does colour how you see things. I am aware that my Nationalism affects mine. I’d suggest your first thought on seeing the headline is different to those from a Nationalist background.

    On the contrary – I discussed (before the results were known) that, if DC didn’t make the cut, it could be misconstrued…and why it could be misconstrued…in private meeetings with people directly involved in community relations.

    And yet on here you haven’t displayed it. It just “Thems the rules”. Factually accurate, but not likely to win friends or connect with those upset by it.

  • Matt

    Willow…given there is no thread about Limavady Grammar’s refusal to allow after school GAA for 30/40 mixed religion kids who asked for it…(topic appears too hot to handle by slugger clearly?)…are the GAA efforts aggressive or laudable? and the schools refusal understandable or sectarian?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Matt

    New thread opened on that very topic.

  • Doctor Who

    kensei

    “Instead they ignored it, and any Unionist response here has seemingly been “Tough”. There is a lack of empathy and an emotional deafness. Any damage the IFA incurs over this will be largely down to that.”

    Kensei you have shown no empathy whatsoever with Donegal Celtic FC, instead you have attempted continuously to present this as an own by the IFA against the whole Nationalist community. Paranoia.

    Let me state witout ambiguity that i hoped Donegal Celtic would have made the cut, they didn´t, their fans like Portadown´s must be gutted. However the phillosophical amongst their support may simply see it as taking a step backward im order to step ahead. I do think long term that Donegal Celtic can be a success, but all the talk of great potential over the last few years in relation to support just hasn´t happened. If you had ever visited the ground you would understand why not very many would want to stand there on a damp rainy winter´s afternoon.

    Kensei

    “Well, yes barring grounds of safety and the like. Moneyed clubs with brilliant facilities typically rise to the top without help: I see no reason to help them further.”

    This is not stricly true. Over the last 20 years Glenavon FC have had the vision to upgrade their stadium at the expense of on field results. They have not received any favours from the IFA for doing so. In fact 3 seasons ago they lost their senior status for the first time. Their facilities are of the highest standard in the league and next season European football will be played at Mourneview Park, however it will not be Glenavon that´s playing.

    During the same period Glenavon´s neighbours Portadown concentrated more on the playing expenses with a great deal of success over the last 20 years. Portadown have made more ground improvements in the last 2 years than they did in the previous 2 decades. Hopefully long term people will see IL grounds as safe and comfortable places to return to. If not the money coming from the IFA will be a right waste.

    I recently visited Institutes ground for the first time in 2 years and was amazed by the transformation. Upgrades from their own pockets in order to make the grade. It´s here where DC fell short and if you want to ignore the facts in favour of the conspiracy theory well only you would know why.

  • pfhl

    Apologies, but I haven’t a clue where you’re going with your recent posts.

    Posted by Realist on May 16, 2008 @ 08:41 PM

    I am illustrating that I believe it would have made much more sense to copy a successful league rather than the Eircom league. This would mean DC would be in the top division. But as i said in a previous post DC brought it on themselves by agreeing to a bad system. I believe we agree it is DC’s fault though as they accepted the system.

  • pfhl

    Willowfield,

    Fair enough if you were only going by what you were told. I was pointing out the success of the GAA in West Belfast before the 80’s. As a supporter I would also lay much greater weight to the success of Ulster Football than I would to an increase in militant nationalsm. Also the great work put in by St. Gall’s volunteers will have also helped. Unfortunately their efforts were not rewarded with an all-ireland in 2006. By attributing the success of the GAA to militant nationalism belittles the effort of coaches and fundraisers who play such a vital role in the developement of young GAA players.

  • b9nfap9isucj q0ufqvc9fxs [URL=http://www.972868.com/655304.html] mwyohy5z6fjfqm1vn [/URL] hhdvwf7n

  • kensei

    Dr Who

    Kensei you have shown no empathy whatsoever with Donegal Celtic FC, instead you have attempted continuously to present this as an own by the IFA against the whole Nationalist community. Paranoia.

    Aside from repeating the mantra that football should determine what league you play in and the fact that I hate FA fuck up, exactly what mode to do want for me to show empathy”? You also either haven’t followed the discussion, ot just haven’t read what I’ve said. Go fucking troll somewhere else.

  • Doctor Who

    Kensei

    Wether you think the invitatioanl league should be determined by league positions this season is irrelevant. As has been pointed out to the point of tedium DC knew the score and it was a level playing field for all clubs. I have every sympathy for their supporters as a true football fan. I also have every sympathy with the followers pf Portadown for the same reason.

    I find it rather amusing that you accuse me of trolling, considering as you well know I have been posting on these threads for years. As for the rest of your agresive bullshit get a grip on yourself fella.

  • kensei

    Dr Who

    Wether you think the invitatioanl league should be determined by league positions this season is irrelevant. As has been pointed out to the point of tedium DC knew the score and it was a level playing field for all clubs. I have every sympathy for their supporters as a true football fan. I also have every sympathy with the followers pf Portadown for the same reason.

    And if you have followed the chain of the thread, I think it’s an injustice for the teams involved, but I’ve accepted that. What I have said is that the PR has been horrendously badly handled by the IFA. It has not just been me that has spoke to the first reaction of uneasiness — even this thread speaks to it and Mick is hardly a rampaging MOPEr.

    I find it rather amusing that you accuse me of trolling, considering as you well know I have been posting on these threads for years. As for the rest of your agresive bullshit get a grip on yourself fella.

    Bite me. You do consistently post on these threads, and you do seem to have a habit of consistently having a pop at me. Tired of it.

  • Doctor Who

    Kensei

    I am arguing from the side of someone who cares about local football. You are coming from a political angle, you have said elsewhere you care little for local football. So why the emotional outbursts?

    Certainly the IFA have always had problems with PR, however I do think it´s a bit of a pity that people have used this latest episode to make fresh accusations of sectarianism. I also feel it highly inapropriate that posters feel DC should be treated differently because of their location and political make up of their supporters.

    Perhaps you should go to a site where like minded individulas just pat each other on the back.

    Far from having a pop at you, you have on these threads gone out of your way to offend. But hey I expect that and laugh it off. Please forgive me for not agreeing with you and being mature enough not to tell you to fuck off.

  • Dewi

    I’m far from an expert but:

    1) What was wrong with our goal?
    2) Why are Portsmouth allowed to kick Joe Ledley all day?
    3) Arn’t goalies supposed to catch things?
    4) And isn’t Katherine Jenkins the most drop down stonking gorgeouus girl on the planet ?

  • Realist

    AS part of the continuing plan to establish a new IFA Invitational League representatives from the Carnegie Premier, First and Second Divisions attended an information seminar on Wednesday, 30 May, 2007 in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.

    In advance of this seminar consultations had taken place which resulted in subsequent approvals by both the IFA Business Committee and the IPL Working Group.

    The club representatives were given detailed information on:

    1. The process and principles including the makeup and background of the assessment panel.
    2. The application document with guidance in relation to its completion.
    3. The scoring matrix including explicit direction as to how the potential score within each area is attained.

    The process was open to all clubs and they each had until 22 June 2007 to return the completed application form with the necessary supporting documentation.

    These applications were studied in detail by the Independent Assessment panel chaired by Mervyn Elder on 22 and 29 June 2007 and a report was furnished to the Association.

    The IFAP Shadow Board met on 7 August 2007 to consider the report of the Independent Assessment panel and discuss the more general operational matters relating to the IFAP. As a result of the meeting a full ranking list was distributed to the applicant clubs and subsequently issued to the media.

    Some additional key principles including the format of the league, the timeline and the need for every club to also attain a domestic club licence were also communicated to the clubs.

    The Shadow Board continued to discuss matters of significance to the new league involving corporate identity and sponsorship and shall kept all necessary parties appraised of their progress.

  • kensei

    Dr Who

    Content free man playing post again.

  • Benefit of doubt to the ref on this occasion

    As far as I can tell it was given as handball when James flapped the ball into Louvens.

    If it hit his arm he gained an advantage by it even if it was not deliberate.

  • willowfield

    PFHL

    Fair enough if you were only going by what you were told. I was pointing out the success of the GAA in West Belfast before the 80’s. As a supporter I would also lay much greater weight to the success of Ulster Football than I would to an increase in militant nationalsm. Also the great work put in by St. Gall’s volunteers will have also helped. Unfortunately their efforts were not rewarded with an all-ireland in 2006. By attributing the success of the GAA to militant nationalism belittles the effort of coaches and fundraisers who play such a vital role in the developement of young GAA players.

    First, I do not attribute GAA’s success only to militant nationalists: I merely point out that I do not believe the rise of GAA in west Belfast (and probably in NI generally) happening at the same time as the rise of militant nationalism, to be entirely coincidental. I believe that the two are connected (to some degree). I believe that the Provisional movement has worked hard “on the ground” to build and regenerate nationalist communities during this time, and that part of that building has included the promotion of sport and, specifically, Gaelic sports. I believe the Provisional movement has been keen to promote Gaelic sports over and above other sports such as football, because of the exclusive and nationalist nature of Gaelic sports. I believe the Provisional movement – quite rightly – believes that a strong and healthy GAA in Northern Ireland will help maintain a strong and healthy nationalism by inculcating, as it does, politics into young people in an essentially non-political environment.

  • willowfield

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/irish/7411705.stm

    Support for Donegal Celtic cause

    Several hundred people turned out on Tuesday night to support Donegal Celtic in their protest at being turned down for the new 12-team Premier League.

    DC missed out when clubs were graded on criteria which included performances, facilities, finances and provision for youth and women’s football.

    The club have [sic] organised a petition and officials want to know exactly where they fell short in the ratings.

    West Belfast MP Gerry Adams addressed the meeting at DC’s Suffolk Road base.

    The petition is to be sent to the Sports Minister Edwin Poots with whom the club are [sic] seeking a meeting.

    The Irish FA said the rating of clubs was carried out by an independent assessment panel.

    However, Donegal Celtic officials want an investigation into the way the panel reached its verdict and are seeking a breakdown of how the totals were arrived at.

    They have lodged an appeal with the Irish FA and, if that fails, the club could consider mounting a legal challenge.

  • willowfield

    The request highlighted above seems to me to be entirely reasonable. Surely all clubs, as a matter of course, should have this information made available to them?

    I can’t see any difficulty for the IFA in acceding to the request.

  • repbublicanstoned

    Indeed Willowfield, it is a reasonable request. One wonders however why the hundreds attending this meeting did not support Donegal Celtic when they really needed local support. Ironically this was probably Donegal Cetic´s biggest gate.

  • willowfield

    I doubt that there were “hundreds” there.

  • play the game

    Willowfield

    Your conjecture on the rise of interest GAA activities in West Belfast is knocked by the fact that increased interest has simultaneously manifested all over Ireland, including the SF 6.9% of the popular vote south. More likely to do with:
    1. more media coverage
    2. more high profile games due to re-structuring of the championship, ‘back-door’ to those in the know
    3. new Croke Park stadium
    4. previously (relatively) unheard of All Ireland success for Ulster counties in 90s and noughties.

    What do you think?

  • willowfield

    I’ve no doubt all of those factors have been important: I’ve never said the increased interest was down purely to political changes. But I still believe the rise of militant nationalism has had an effect, for the reasons stated.

    I also think it is true that there was previously an urban/rural divide in Gaelic. Both Belfast and Derry city would traditionally appear to have favoured football over GAA until very recently. I’m not sure whether the same urban/rural divide existed elsewhere in Ireland.