By Eoghan Cormican
Club footballers in Donegal will be starved of championship fare until September, following a county board decision on Monday evening.
As outlined in the Donegal master fixtures plan, approved earlier this week, the first round of the county SFC will not throw-in for another six months.
Club players will have to make do with league games until the conclusion of the All-Ireland SFC on September 2.
The Donegal footballers open their Ulster championship campaign on May 13 in the preliminary round against Cavan.
In 2017, the opening round of the Donegal SFC was played on the first weekend of May, before a three-month hiatus when the county senior team took priority. This was also the case in 2015 and ‘16.
In 2014, the summer in which Jim McGuinness steered the county back to the All-Ireland final, the local championship did not begin until September 27.
The competition was run off in six weeks, with Ulster Council agreeing to postpone by one week the Ulster club quarter-final involving the Donegal champions.
Donegal County Committee tonight approved the 2018 Master fixtures plan, which will see 6 star fixtures in the All County League and continuation of Club League Football starting on March 30th through to 1st Sept. With the Championship in Sept /Oct— Official Donegal GAA (@officialdonegal) March 5, 2018
There are 16 teams in Donegal’s top tier, divided into four groups of four. The top two from each group advance to the quarter-finals.
The Club Players Association, following the GAA’s declaration that April would be a ‘club only’ month, called on Croke Park top-brass to compel county boards to schedule club championship games for April.
That was never likely to happen and it is expected that a handful of counties will not utilise April to commence their championships.
Kerry, similar to Donegal, are delaying the start of their county senior football championship until September, but that is offset by the club championship which will run in early summer.