At the recent Árd Comhairle meeting, a number of proposals sent forward by the Féile Review group were ratified, and which have implications for how both the Féile na nGael and Féile na nÓg tournaments will be organised from 2014.
The Féile tournaments for 2014 will compose a series of tournaments held at National, Regional and Provincial level over the weekends of June 20th – 22nd (Féile na nGael) and June 27th – 29th (Féile na nÓg).
Ulster have been awarded the national Féile na nGael tournament for both 2014 and 2015, while Connacht are hosting the national Féile na nÓg tournament for 2014.
Féile na nGael
Féile na nGael 2014 will be a series of tournaments taking place at National, Regional and Provincial level over the weekend of June 20th – 22nd 2014 as follows:
- The National Féile na nGael tournament will take place in Ulster, beginning on Friday June 20th and closing on Sunday, June 22nd. Representatives from every County will compete across 6 divisions (minimum) against host clubs. It is anticipated that there will be 64 host teams and 64 visiting teams.
- In addition, and in a new departure, a series of Regional Féile na nGael tournaments will take place on Saturday, June 21st, at venues nationwide.
- Finally, a series of Provincial Féile na nGael tournaments will take place in Connacht, Leinster and Munster on Saturday, June 21st at a number of venues across each Province. The Provincial Féile na nGael tournaments will be open to all clubs from within the Province to participate in.
Féile na nÓg
Féile na nÓg 2014 will be a series of tournaments taking place at National, Regional and Provincial level over the weekend of June 27th – 29th 2014 as follows:
- The National Féile na nÓg tournament will take place in Connacht, beginning on Friday June 27th and closing on Sunday, June 29th. Representatives from every County will compete across 6 divisions (minimum) against host clubs. It is anticipated that there will be 64 host teams and 64 visiting teams.
- In addition, and in a new departure, a series of Regional Féile na nÓg tournaments will take place on Saturday, June 28th, at 6 venues nationwide.
- Finally, a series of Provincial Féile na nÓg tournaments will take place in Leinster, Munster and Ulster on Saturday, June 28th at a number of venues across each Province. The Provincial Féile na nÓg tournaments will be open to all clubs from within the Province to participate in.
Why was a review Féile tournaments commissioned?
Uachtarán CLG, Liam Ó Neill outlined at Congress 2013 that a review of how the Féile tournaments were organised was necessary to ensure that they were player centred and fit for purpose, forty years on from when they were first established. A workgroup was established comprising of members of the National Games Development Committee and the National Féile Committee with representatives of Camogie, Handball and Ladies Gaelic Football included.
Explain the process involved in the review.
Feedback was sought from a number of sources; a questionnaire was issued to all clubs via county secretaries with almost 500 responses received; written submissions were invited from all counties, and feedback and analysis were gathered from recent tournaments (2011 – 2013). The level of feedback received was excellent. There were a huge range of opinions expressed in relation to the tournaments - from those who thought the tournaments should remain exactly as they were to those who felt that they should be completely discontinued. The vast majority of respondents felt that there was a requirement for change. In the end it was important to base recommendations on the association’s player pathway and try to ensure that the tournaments meet the developmental needs of the participants.
What were the main findings in the report?
Firstly, it`s important to highlight that we found National Féile tournaments have provided clubs with a wonderful opportunity to foster long lasting relationships. Many clubs have highlighted how making a visit to another club (or being a host club) has had a positive impact on the atmosphere and culture of their club. Therefore, it was felt that the Association must protect the concept of clubs coming together for a festival of Gaelic games, but that it needed to be done on a more inclusive basis.
It was also found that the current structure of the tournaments presented many difficulties such as:
- In some counties, less than half of clubs participate in the county Féile tournaments as they feel they do not have a chance to win it and progress any further.
- Only 19 counties have hosted football Féile between 1982 and 2013, while only 14 counties have hosted Féile na nGael between 1971 and 2013.
- The tournament structure has resulted in unbalanced games. Inviting County champion teams, especially from the strongest Counties, to participate against the local host clubs has resulted in some significantly unbalanced games.
- The average winning margin in Hurling and Camogie games is 12 points. The average winning margin in Gaelic Football is 14 points (Ladies Gaelic Football is 19 points).
How is it proposed to make Féile tournaments more inclusive?
The aim is to try to create a system whereby every club in the country has an opportunity to participate in a Féile tournament. There will be three types of tournament on the designated Féile weekends: National Féile tournament, Regional Féile tournaments and all inclusive Provincial Féile tournaments.
How will teams be selected to attend these events?
The aim will be to match teams of similar standards across each of the three tournament formats. To facilitate this, Counties will run internal Féile tournaments. It is hoped that all clubs would enter a team, including those who may field teams at reduced numbers e.g. 13 or 11-a-side.
Following these internal tournaments, the relevant County Committee will grade their teams from number 1 (winners of top division) through to their lowest team in that year. This list will be submitted to the National Féile Committee. The National Féile Committee will use these lists to invite teams to participate in one of the three tournaments.
For example, when the National Féile tournament is being hosted in what would be considered tier 2, 3 or 4 counties then the teams graded one to four in the Division One counties may be facilitated at Regional tournaments, while a team graded five or six may attend the national event. It`s proposed that a team graded towards the bottom in each of these counties would also be invited to the national event.
This will mean that the county tournament winners will be facilitated at a Féile event but depending on the host venue it may not necessarily be at National Féile.
For more information on Féile 2014 download the Féile Q & A document or email firstname.lastname@example.org