IRISH LEAGUE: Limavady boss Owens upset with fixture schedule
Despite a good start to the season, Limavady United manager Paul Owens isn't too happy with the way things have been planned out.
“I’m not very happy with the way this season and its fixtures have been made up,” he said.
“We are sitting now at the end of October, two and a half months into the season and have only played five league fixtures.
“It can be difficult to motivate yourself at time when it’s like this never mind motivating the players as well.
“When you look at the top two leagues, Coleraine versus Linfield and Institute versus Annagh United was the second round of games.
“We are stuck with not even half of the first round of games played at this stage of the season.”
Owens has hit out at the people who have schedules games this year with the way they have done things.
“NIFL for some reason have put out league fixtures then decided that we would go into the Irish Cup at the first round.
“If you do well then your reward is to have league games postponed then we have the Craig Memorial Cup plus the Intermediate Cup as well.
“We are already losing ground on the teams above us as they play league games while we don’t.
“We will be sitting having played 14 games at the start of November but that will only be six league games at that stage.
“It’s an absolutely ridiculous situation as it’s hard to think why they would have done things like this.”
After such a good campaign last time around, the former Coleraine winger was looking for the same this time again.
“Our priority is first and foremost the league but we are now stuck playing silly cup game after cup game.
“Only once this season have we had back to back league fixtures which itself is a joke to be honest.
“We won the first one, then drew the other but we now have to wait three weeks before we can put that right.
“That’s far from an ideal situation for anyone to find themselves in and it needs to be looked at.”
Looking ahead to the next few months, Owens knows that his team are going to be even further behind with their league encounters.
“We have four players with the NI Junior side which is obviously good for those involved.
“That game is schedule for the day we have our Intermediate Cup round two game which will mean it’s postponed. This cup game will then take preference over our league game the following week against Dundela.
“This will mean that on Christmas Day we will only have managed to play eight of our league games. We will still have 19 games to play after that but the league will split late in the season too.
“This is a good idea but they will not be able to split us because at that stage we could be five or six weeks behind the rest of the teams.
“A lot of the teams in our league don’t have lights so the games can’t be midweek so they will have a real problem.”
Whilst there is now three even teams of twelve at the top of pyramid, the Limavady man reckons this is as far as the comparison goes.
“Call it the Premier Intermediate League or the Irish League or whatever you want,” he added.
“When you have three leagues of twelve teams including a split then the league fixtures should have been the same.
“Really we should have come into the Irish Cup at round four and later in the Intermediate Cup too.
“No disrespect to Iveagh United last week but we were always going to win that game easily.
“We are still unbeaten in the league but the way things are going we will continue to lose ground on the teams above us who play league games whilst we don’t.
“We are going to end up playing crazy games of catch-up later in the season which is as I said is ridiculous. This really does need looked at but unfortunately this situation is totally out of our own hands,” he concluded.