The North East Football League season will resume in early August, with the first fixtures likely to be played on Thursday August 6 or Friday August 7 – but as previously decided, the season will comprise solely of cup competitions. The truncated 2020 edition will also see the ’40 Year Commemorative Cup’ take place, a once-off competition to mark four decades of the league’s existence.
Teams are now permitted to resume training once again as part of phase three lifting of restrictions post-Covid 19 lockdown but now teams have a confirmed date for the resumption of competitive matches. The NEFL season had been earmarked to start on March 22 but it was suspended on March 12 as the pandemic took hold.
The final positions at the end of the 2019 league campaign will now be carried forward to the new 2021 season, which is due to begin in March next year.
The Tully Bookmakers Challenge Cup, Kilmessan Shield, Fitzsimons Cup, Gerry Reilly Cup, O’Neill Shield and the new Jimmy Mangan Cup will all have knockout rounds from the quarter-finals onwards. Qualification for each tournament’s last eight will be determined by group standings.
The group draws were made on Tuesday, June 30 and are as follows:
Group A: Muirhevna Mor, Bay FC, Bellurgan United, Albion Rovers, Ardee Celtic, Torro United, Glenmuir United, Abbey Celtic.
Group B: Rock Celtic, Carrick Rovers, Square United, Kingscourt Harps, Redeemer Celtic, Drogheda Town, Bailieboro Celtic, Newtown Utd.
Group C: Parkvilla, Duleek, OMP United, Chord Celtic, Kentstown Rovers, Oldcastle United, Trim Celtic 2nds, Kells Celtic.
Group D: Boyne Harps, Trim Celtic, Athboy Celtic, Enfield Celtic, Donacarney Celtic, Johnstown FC, Trim Town, Virginia FC.
Group E: BJD Celtic, Navan Town Cosmos, Ardee Celtic 2nds, Glenmuir United 2nds, Virginia 2nds, Athboy Celtic 2nds, Electro 2nds, Oldcastle 2nds.
Group F: Fordrew Rovers, Torro United 2nds, Carrick Rovers 2nds, Square United 2nds, Newtown United 2nds, Slane
Wanderers, Kells Celtic 2nds, Castle Villa, Robinstown 2nds.
Group G: Bohermeen Celtic, Kilmessan, Kentstown 2nds, Millmount Celtic, Donacarney Celtic 2nds, Albion Rovers2nds, Rossin Rovers, Park Celtic, Summerhill.
Group H: OMP United 2nds, Parkvilla 2nds, Robinstown, Chord Celtic 2nds, Lourdes Celtic, Albion Rovers 3rds, Johnstown FC 2nds, Enfield cCeltic 2nds.
Teams in Group A through Group D will compete for places in the last eight of the Tully Bookmakers Challenge Cup, Kilmessan Shield and Fitzsimons Cup competitions. The teams in the other groups will compete for spots in the knockout rounds of the remaining competitions.
With eight teams in each group, the top six will qualify for a cup or shield competition – with the bottom two seeing their seasons end.
The NEFL say fixtures will run until the end of November but given postponements, the season is likely to run into December. Fixtures will be realised in due course.