Kerry set to delay start of championship until September

Kerry look set to postpone the start of next year’s county SFC until the second week of September.

A proposal was discussed by clubs during last Friday’s club forum at the Rose Hotel in Tralee, whereby the county senior championship would not commence until after the conclusion of the All-Ireland series on September 2.

Kerry chairman Tim Murphy said this suggestion was well-received by club officials present, with a decision to be taken on such a move at the November meeting of the county board on the last Monday of this month. It would represent a significant break from tradition as the first round of the county senior championship has typically been run off prior to Kerry’s opening game in Munster.

It also means the entire championship would have to be completed within an eight-week window in order to have a representative for the Munster club.

This year, two rounds of the Kerry SFC were played in May, with another four games squeezed in the weekend after Kerry’s Munster final victory over Cork in early July.

Were clubs to greenlight this radical overhaul of the county’s master fixtures calendar, the club championship (a competition separate to the county championship) would take centre stage during the months of April and May. The lower grade county championship competitions, such as intermediate, junior and novice, would also start in April. June, July, and August would be confined to league games. Kerry’s 2018 Munster SFC opener is penciled in for June 2 at home to either Clare or Limerick.

“In recent years, county players wouldn’t have played with their clubs during club championship games in April. With this [proposal], clubs would be guaranteed to have their players for club championship games in April and May,” said Murphy. “They would still be training with Kerry but free to play with their clubs in the club championship.

“Our convention is on December 11 and we want to have our fixture plan for next year nailed down by then. What we are looking to do is give players certainty as to when they will be playing.”

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