Only one game survives Division One ‘cull’

This weekend’s H&A Mechanical Services Division One football league programme has been virtually wiped out, the Slaughtneil v Dungiven game the only one to survive the cull as neither side has a senior county footballer among its ranks.

When the games programme was drawn up pre-season this was to be the last game before Derry’s senior championship game with Fermanagh when clubs would have full access to their Derry players.

However a combination of Derry having a ‘bonding weekend’ arranged for Dunboyne in Meath and the escalating raft of injuries in the senior squad forced the County management team to request that county players would not play this weekend.

Clubs were notified, after a telephone conference among available Derry Competitions Control Committee members, last Sunday evening that the programme would go ahead as scheduled but that clubs with county squad players had the option of calling off their games.

Only three clubs in Division 1 (Castledawson, Dungiven and Slaughtneil) have no senior players in the extended squad. With Dungiven and Slaughtneil meeting that game was able to go ahead.

All the other games in Division 1 were called off as at least one of the clubs in each of the remaining seven pairings requested a postponement.

In Division 2, Foreglen’s Oisin Duffy and Swatragh’s Michael Friel are in the Derry squad, so their games were also taken off. The Claudy v Steelstown game had previously arranged for last Wednesday and, although Claudy’s Marty Donaghy is in the Derry squad, it went ahead with Steelstown winning 3-09 to 1-08.

Next weekend there will be a full league programme in all three divisions, clubs having to play without their senior footballers as these games fall within the ‘13 day’ rule when players are not available to their clubs.

H & A Mechanical Services Football League Division 1

Slaughtneil v Dungiven

(B Cassidy & G McWilliams)

Neither side has a player in the Derry senior panel so neither will have worries about absentees on that front. However Dungiven will be keeping their fingers crossed that Cathal McKeever, Mark Craig and Paddy Kelly (right), who were all injured in Derry hurlers defeat to Wicklow and thus missed Dungiven’s defeat to Lavey, will come through Saturday’s hurling game against Kildare. Patsy Bradley’s absence through injury is a serious loss to the Emmett’s.