Clubs could be without county men for four months
ANOTHER long run in the All-Ireland series for the Mayo senior footballers this summer would mean that Mayo GAA clubs could be without their county players for four months — from the beginning of May until the end of August.
That was one of the main talking points after Mayo GAA officials released their proposed club fixtures plan to club representatives at a meeting in Castlebar last night (Wednesday).
Another big topic of discussion among club managers and players this week will be the fact that five months may separate the first two rounds of the 2018 Mayo Senior and Intermediate club football championships.
The first round of the showpiece competitions will be played on the weekend of Saturday, April 7/8 — five weeks before Mayo take on Galway in the Connacht SFC.
Were Mayo to qualify for their third All-Ireland SFC Final in succession this year, the second round of club championship matches has been pencilled in for the weekend of September 15/16, with the third round of group games set to be played a week later, on September 22/23.
The dates were revealed by Mayo GAA chiefs at a specially-convened meeting of club representatives at MacHale Park last night.
Clubs were also told that were the Mayo senior footballers to exit the championship at an early stage this summer, the weekend of August 25/26 was the earliest date that would be used in order to bring forward round two club championship matches.
The proposed 'Fixtures Calendar' is due to be circulated to Mayo GAA clubs in the coming days, and will be put before a County Board meeting next month for ratification.
‘Starred’ League games
MEANWHILE, Mayo GAA clubs look set to play as many as eight ‘starred’ (minus their county players) Senior League matches in 2018.
The County Board’s CCC (Competitions Control Committee) have only left three rounds of the Senior Leagues ‘unstarred’ — when clubs would definitely have access to members of the Mayo senior squad.
Two of those ‘unstarred’ rounds (Round One on Saturday, March 24 and Round Four on the weekend of April 28/29) are scheduled to take place before Mayo play Galway in the Connacht Championship on Sunday, May 13.
The other ‘unstarred’ round (the final round, Round 11) is slated for the weekend of September 8/9.
The Mayo GAA CCC had fixed a maximum of six rounds of ‘starred’ Senior League matches in recent seasons, but that number has now increased to eight.
ELSEWHERE, the Mayo Junior club football championships will begin on the weekend of April 21/22 with round two on May 19/20 and round three on June 30/July 1.