SENIOR hurling clubs in Clare are primed to demand that this weekend’s round of senior hurling championship games go ahead, despite a desire from the Clare County Board that they be deferred to help the county senior hurlers prepare for the upcoming All-Ireland Qualifiers.
And if the games don’t go ahead, it is believed that a number of clubs are in favour of taking the nuclear option by threatening strike action, which would see them withdraw from this year’s Canon Hamilton race.
Representatives of most of the teams in this year’s senior hurling championship met in special session in the West County Hotel late on Monday night to formalise their plan of campaign for this Tuesday’s hastily convened Clare County Board meeting that will take place in Clareabbey.
“The mood of the meeting was that the games have to go ahead,” a representative of one club told The Clare People this Tuesday. “The games are down to be played in the Masters Fixtures Programme ratified by the board, clubs have prepared for these dates and the games have to go ahead and if they don’t there’s a mood for strike,” he added.
However, whether it comes to this when clubs are inside in a county board meeting when faced by Clare County Board officers is another thing altogether. At that meeting, support to call off the club fixtures is expected, in the wake of Clare’s Munster semi-final defeat to Cork in Thurles on Sunday.
“This is what the county players want,” board chairman McDonagh told The Clare People on Monday. “It’s up to the clubs to back a call for the fixtures to be put back and I have had contact from a number of players saying that it would be unfair the club championship going ahead with the prospect of Clare being out in an All-Ireland Qualifier the following week.
“There is a 50 per cent chance that Clare will be playing the following week,” continued McDonagh, “and we had a CCCC meeting on Monday night, but weren’t going to make the decision to call off the games. That’s something that has to be made by the clubs themselves. It’s their decision,” he added.
McDonagh’s comments come against a backdrop of speculation that a letter from Clare players’ representatives calling for the club games to be postponed will be forwarded to the Clare County Board to be read out at the meeting.
“I have heard nothing about a letter,” confirmed Mr McDonagh, “and certainly haven’t got one at this stage,” he added. However, The Clare People understands a number of clubs have written to the board demanding that the games go ahead.
The board meeting has been pencilled in for 8.30pm at Áras Uí Chíosóg, where the views of the clubs are expected to be aired by a number of clubs who are in favour of the club games going ahead.
However, with the prospect of Clare being in Qualifier action on Saturday, June 28, it could be that the 13-day rule will be invoked.
Rule 6.21 states “the period of time during which Senior Inter-County Players shall not be expected to fulfil Inter-Club Championship Fixtures prior to Inter-County Championship Games, in the same Code, shall be 13 days”.
Before the games can be postponed, Clare County Board need the approval of the Munster Council, while at the same time providing alternative dates.
Picture: Sixmilebridge’s Aidan Quilligan and Newmarket’s Enda Barrett before last year’s county final – eight months on controversy is raging over 2014 championship fixtures.