By Michael McMullan
THERE will be no relegation from the Derry Senior Football Championship this season after Derry CCC informed clubs they were cancelling the four relegation play-offs.
At the start if the year, Derry CCC planned to shrink their 16-team Senior Championship and Division One to 12 teams for the 2023 season, via four play-offs between the eight teams knocked out in the last 16 round of the championship.
The fixtures were set as follows:
Bellaghy v Ballinascreen, Coleraine v Kilrea, Loup v Claudy and Banagher v Steelstown.
No relegation or promotion was available through the leagues -at any grade – due to Derry CCC’s decoupling of league and championship status, so the four losers were set to be relegated from senior football.
Ballinascreen and Coleraine took a joint appeal to Ulster GAA on the grounds that the play-off draw was seeded after the competition began, with clubs only informed of the change of format in the week approaching the draw itself.
Their appeal was thrown out on a technicality at Tuesday night’s Ulster GAA Hearing, putting the ball back in Derry’s court.
Derry released the following statement, seen by Gaelic Life, to clubs on Wednesday:
“Due to the uncertainty that the appeals created and the delay introduced into the fixtures schedule, Derry CCC have decided, in the interests of player welfare, to cancel the planned relegation games for 2022.
“Derry CCC will engage with all clubs regarding arrangements for the 2023 season and beyond.”