Some of the delegates at the Leitrim GAA County Board Convention on Sunday. Photo by Willie Donnellan
Before a ball is even kicked, 2019 is shaping up as the most exciting and challenging year ever for Leitrim clubs after Sunday's County Board Convention overwhelmingly approved dramatic changes to Club League and Championship structures.
The two County Board motions were passed after a lengthy debate and will see clubs playing for their places in the new formats of the 2020 League and Championship.
In an amended motion, the 2020 Leagues will be divided into three Divisions of eight, eight and seven first teams and two Reserve Divisions made up of second and third string teams based on the respective finishing positions of first string teams in the 2019 Leagues.
The 2020 Championship at Senior, Intermediate & Junior A level will comprise of ten teams in each grade, regardless of first or second string status, with eight teams in Junior B and six teams possibly in Junior C.
It means that every single team will be playing for their status during the 2019 Championship, the teams who reach the Quarter-Finals, the 2019 Intermediate winners and the winners of the relegation playoff securing Senior status for 2020. In the Intermediate grade, three teams will drop from Senior instead of one while four teams will be relegated to Junior, again ensuring 10 teams in Intermediate in 2020.
It is the biggest single shake-up in the structures of club league and championship football since the Group system was first introduced to Leitrim football in the year 2001 but should ensure a higher standard and much more competitive club competitions in the years ahead.
SEE THIS WEEK'S LEITRIM OBSERVER FOR FULL DETAILS OF SUNDAY'S CONVENTION