Clonard's home ground.

Clonard lose place in championship after second withdrawal

Clonard have conceded their place in the Junior B FC after withdrawing from their tie with Drumconrath which was due to be played.

The withdrawal came just two weeks after failing to fulfil their game in the same competition with St Brigid's when the Clonard club said they were unable to field a team due to a shortage of playing personnel.

A club can withdraw from one championship game but if they do it a second time they immediately forgo their place in that competition.

"That's us out of the championship unfortunately," said club secretary Mairtin O hAinle. "When everybody else is starting off in earnest we are out of it."

Clonard, according to their club secretary, "conceded twice" in their A FL campaign this year and also did not fulfil their Premier FC semi-final fixture. They played only one game in the Junior B FC before withdrawing from their last two fixtures.

It is very unusual and rare for a club to fail to fulfil a championship game. It's certainly a dramatic move for Clonard to concede a second match - and their place in the championship.

"All I know is that there were 13 players available for the (Drumconrath) game but the club were unable to muster two more, there would have been no subs even if they had got to 15 so it was purely shortage of numbers for whatever reason I don't know," added O hAinle who is currently on holidays.

The club secretary added that the decision to withdraw had caused "a lot of unhappy feelings" and was "the last thing the club wanted to do."

"I know the management left it as late as possible to make the decision before I was asked to contact Drumconrath and I have to say they were extremely understanding as well because they've been there before."

Clonard have a second team in the Premier FC this year but still there wasn't enough players for the first team, leaving the club in the unenviable position of having to surrender their place in the championship.

One of the ironies of the current situation is that while they struggle to fulfil their fixtures Clonard can boast some of the finest playing facilities in the county with large sums of money spent on improving standards in recent times.

"The Meath ladies All-Ireland team played Longford in a challenge game at Clonard, they trained on the pitch and came back and trained a second time they were so impressed with the facilities," added O hAinle.

"It's a pity and a shame (that the club can't fulfil the championship fixutre) and hopefully it won't happen in the future," he said. "There is an awful lot of work taking place with underage players and an lot of work has taken place with the senior players as well and the shortage of numbers won't be an issue in three years time if I can put it that way."