The Donegal senior football championship, at the behest of Jim McGuinness, has been put on hold until the county’s exit from the All-Ireland championship, and clubs’ frustration was further compounded this week as a full round of league games, fixed for tomorrow, were called off, again at McGuinness’s request.
Former Donegal footballer Devenney accepts club players receive a raw deal, and offers the removal of provincial competitions as the perfect remedy.
“There will have to be something drawn up because there is a disparity between the different provinces and the number of games played,” he argued.
“It is ridiculous that there are breaks of five and six weeks between inter-county games and no club action. Provincial championships should be scrapped because they are a joke at the moment.
“Mayo are going to win Connacht. You see five Leinster teams relegated this year from the top three divisions. You have Cork and Kerry in Munster and that is it.
“Ulster is still competitive, but surely we can put that to one side for a moment for the benefit of club football?
“I think we need to look at an All-Ireland series and then incorporate the clubs so one manager isn’t saying ‘play away’ and then another is saying ‘no club football until the end of summer’.”
Devenney proposed an All-Ireland series that would see three rounds played in early summer and then a month’s break where club championships would take centre stage.
“This schedule would be set in stone from the outset so clubs know where they stand and it takes the pressure off inter-county managers and boards. It seems the only way forward for me.”
Former Donegal footballer Kevin Cassidy tweeted his anger yesterday at the control held by McGuinness over fixture planners, but Devenney believes such wielding of power is merited.
“He took Donegal from nowhere to winning back-to-back Ulster titles and an All-Ireland. Rightly so he has power. The county board is in an awkward position and the club players get caught in the middle. The system needs to be revolutionised. Jim’s biggest fear is that if they go through the backdoor they will be out every week and the risk of injuries rise. He is only looking after number one, his team. The board then have to look after the majority of their members. That is what has caused the battle. People in Donegal have had to accept the fact there will be no championship this summer because they know it won’t be reversed.
“There isn’t so much anger at this as there is general acceptance.”