Two out of three ain’t bad. Meatloaf it was who said that. Clever man is Meatloaf.

The Fermanagh club season has drawn to a close and with it the winter months take a grip. For those who didn’t achieve the goals they set, the dark nights can bring with them a sense of regret. But with the Turkey devoured and the New Year arriving there comes a renewed optimism. Pre-season begins and with it a sense of hope. For the club player, it is the best of times in many ways. A sense of certainty.

Anyway, I digress; Meatloaf, he was a great man for letting people down easy. I need you; I really want you, but I just can’t say the ‘L’ word. I would say it still stung mind you. It didn’t mean he didn’t care though. A wile man Meatloaf.

The old two out of three vibe could be used for the Fermanagh club fixture list too. There is a lot of good in there. And we have it a lot better than many other counties. But like Meatloaf I can’t bring myself to say the ‘L’ Word.

It wouldn’t take much to get me there mind. In fact, if there was just one change made, I’d be considering getting down on one knee. So, what’s that change? Simply to finish the leagues before the championship starts. And to my eye, at least, that change is very doable. We will get to the nitty gritty of how it can be done in a few paragraphs, but it is first important to outline why it should be done.

The first reason is that I believe the majority of clubs and players would like to see it happen. The second reason is one of fairness. And the third is that it would provide absolute certainty for the calendar.

At present, one of the reasons given for not finishing the leagues before the championship is that those teams who are involved in league playoffs and semi finals would have an unfair advantage in terms of preparation before the championship. I can see the reasoning behind this argument, but it falls down when you actually look at the consequences of doing things as we do at present.

At the moment, with the leagues finishing after the championship those league playoff games, in my opinion, are unduly influenced by how teams have done in the championship that season. Take a team who finished in the top four but then is knocked out early in the championship. Maybe even relegated from the championship. In a few short weeks all the good work that team has done in an 18-game league campaign has been undone.

Form has disintegrated, motivation is on the floor and it becomes a near impossible job to get things back where they were. It means that how that team ultimately fair in the league is determined to a large extent by its championship form, which to me is completely unfair.

Enniskillen Gaels this season are a good example of a team whose level of performance in the league semi-final was no-where near where it was during the early rounds of the league. I’m not saying they would have beaten Derrygonnelly had the league semi-final been played before the championship, but I can say for certain they would have been in a much better place.

Take Kinawley’s clash with Teemore too. The Shamrocks lost in the senior championship at the quarter final stage and had to play a relegation league game against Kinawley, who were flying high after four games in the Intermediate championship which saw them lift the crown. Now, you tell me who was in a better frame of mind for that game.

What is more, we have lots of room to conclude the leagues before the championship. The Fermanagh senior football championship final was scheduled for September 15. Derrygonnelly are due to play in the preliminary round in Ulster on October 20, a full five weeks after this.

Kinawley won the Intermediate Championship on September 8 and won’t play in Ulster until November 2, eight weeks later. Maguiresbridge, Junior Champions, will play in Ulster six weeks after winning their title.

We could, with little fuss, move the start of the championship back by three weeks and get the leagues finished before the championship starts. I would suggest playing extra time to ensure the games are finished on the day too. Everyone would go for this and it would provide a level of certainty for fixture makers.

There is also another benefit to moving the championships back and that is that it leaves the Fermanagh champions in all three competitions in a much better place to compete in Ulster. Currently we are not helping those teams who win our championships, and for the long term benefit of Fermanagh football we must be more competitive at Ulster Club level than we have been.

All we need to do is look around us at the other eight counties in Ulster and see their championship schedule.

Antrim played their senior final replay last weekend. Tyrone, Down and Cavan played their finals at the weekend. The other four counties in Ulster will play their final this weekend.

I would argue that the winners in the other counties are going to be much sharper for Ulster than our winners who have been kicking their heels for weeks on end. Our winners have had one or two games that, quite frankly are not at the same quality level as cut and thrust championship action.

Those who make the fixtures in this county do a very good job. It is a thankless job too. But with just a few tweaks they could be a real dead ringer for love for this columnist.