Mid-March is the proposed starting date for the 2023 adult club season, it was revealed in the – 2023 Clare GAA Master Fixtures – that is set to be ratified at the February county board meeting this Monday.
The draft proposal issued by the Masters Fixtures Committee of Colm Browne (Kilrush Shamrocks), Paraic Boland (Broadford), Tom Duggan (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Martin Hehir (Ballyea/Clondegad), David O’Brien (St Joseph’s Miltown) and Tony O’Donnell (Crusheen) indicate that the adult hurling leagues commence on the weekend of March 11th/12th while the football equivalents begin seven days later over the St Patrick’s Day weekend.
The Cusack Cup (5th) and Clare Cup (18th) are scheduled to be completed by June, with the knock-out stages proposed to follow immediately afterwards, culminating with the Clare Cup Final on the first weekend in July and the Cusack Cup decider to follow a week later.
Barring Clare contesting the All-Ireland Senior Hurling and/or Football Championship finals, the county senior and intermediate hurling championships are pencilled in to start on the weekend of July 22nd/23rd, with the second round to go ahead the following weekend (July 29th/30th) along with the opening round of the County Junior Hurling Championships.
The senior and intermediate football championships are proposed to begin on the August Bank Holiday weekend (August 5th/6th/7th) following by the junior football versions a fortnight later.
However, the prospect of group amalgamations in the County Senior Football Championship (12 teams) would also its starting date as there would be the requirement of a group of 5 which would take five weeks to complete as opposed to three for groups of 4.
In that case, it is proposed to begin the senior football championship on the weekend of July 15th/16th) for the group of 5 only and it may also have e a knock-on effect on the final date which would revert to Sunday, October 29th.
A proposed deadline date of February 28th is put forward for confirmation of any group teams.
Currently, the Jack Daly (Clare Senior Football Championship) Final is set for Sunday, October 15th while the hurling equivalent, the Canon Hamilton Cup decider will take place seven days later (October 22nd).
As the 2023 Clare Senior Hurling Championship still possesses 17 teams (three groups of four and one group of five), two teams will be relegated by means of a play-off between the four bottom placed teams in each group. An open draw will dictate two play-offs, with the loser of each to be relegated to intermediate level for 2024.
With potential tiered senior and intermediate hurling championships to be considered for 2024 by means of motions from Broadford and Newmarket-on-Fergus, the Master Fixtures Committee have recommended that no changes be made for 2024 and instead “a committee should be put in place to review our hurling championships and the overall competitiveness of same”.
“Given the appetite to split our championships, is it time to consider the addition of a Premier Intermediate championship leading to an overall structure of 12 Senior teams, 12 Premier Intermediate, 12 Intermediate and 12 Junior A teams with follow on grades below?”, it was asked.
The February meeting of Clare GAA will take place in Hotel Woodstock on Monday at 7.30pm.