Derry CCC statement on the 2022 club fixtures programme.
Following internal CCC discussions and formal consultation at county committee meetings on Tuesday 1st February and Tuesday 22nd February, we are pleased to release the 2022 Derry GAA club fixtures programme (available for download below).
Our fixtures programme for 2022 has been constructed within a rapidly changing GAA calendar. At its heart is the principle of balance, between club and county, between hurling and football and between the sporting and social lives of our players.
The new split-season approach, which was endorsed by the CPA and GPA, and passed overwhelmingly by GAA Congress, has consequences for local club fixtures and competition structures across Ireland.
The average inter-county season length for each county has been reduced from 35 weeks to 26 weeks. With club windows in the first half of the calendar year now effectively closed due to condensed U20 and senior championship competitions in hurling and football, this puts an onus on fixture makers to shift the centre of gravity of the club season to later in the year.
Our group-based football championship structures provide a minimum of five championship games in most cases. Coupled with our extended league programme, this provides clubs and players with development opportunities and regular games from April through to September/October with all players available to all clubs for the most critical fixtures that affect league and championship standings.
We are in the final phases of what has been a process of recalibration within Derry club fixture structures over the past two to three years, designed to increase the quality and competitiveness of junior, intermediate and senior grades of football within the county and to increase the competitiveness of Derry clubs at provincial and All-Ireland level. The numbers of clubs within each league and championship grade will re-align in 2023 following the outcome of the 2022 championship competitions.
In the 2022 calendar we have increased the number of football league games scheduled for Saturdays. This is an attempt to provide a greater social balance for our club players as well as strike a balance between the new U19 football league and our existing reserve football leagues.
However, we are mindful that Saturday fixtures do not suit all clubs, particularly dual clubs. With hurling league fixtures currently running on Wednesdays, there is an onus on CCC to provide appropriate breaks between hurling and football fixtures to allow dual players to train and play with both codes. For example, if a player plays hurling on a Wednesday it is unfair to ask him to train with a football team on a Thursday in preparation for a Saturday football fixture. Historically, this is why most football league fixtures have remained on Sundays in our county.
As ever Derry CCC are willing to accommodate any agreed changes to our fixtures schedule provided games are played within the appropriate time frame on any given weekend.
We wish all our players and clubs the very best of luck as we commence the 2022 season.