The AIB Club Championships only came to a conclusion in Croke Park three weeks ago but in a number of counties across the country, the Championship season at Club level got underway this weekend.
April was kept free of inter-county fixtures for that express purpose of letting players back to their clubs between the conclusion of the Allianz Leagues and the start of the All Ireland Championships in May.
In Dublin the Hurling Championship got underway with group stage wins for Ballyboden St Enda’s and Cuala who have won the Championship between them over the past four seasons.
Next week it is the turn of football in the capital. TG4 showed the St Thomas’ vs Liam Mellows Championship game in Galway on TV over the weekend.
It can be a slow burn at this time of year but these are the foundations for the higher profile matchups that will come in the Autumn and without these games, it would mean a return to the condensed programme of years gone by with a game a week and often more to account for players returning and dual clubs.
The season just passed was celebrated in style on Saturday night at Croke Park where Corofin’s Kieran Molloy and Ballyhale Shamrock’s Adrian Mullen were named as the overall Footballer and Hurler of the Year at the AIB GAA Club Players’ Awards.
Molloy was one of seven Corofin players on the overall best 15 of the provincial and All-Ireland stage of the Football club championship.
Mullen’s progress has already been tracked through his performances as a Kilkenny minor and his success with St Kieran’s College at All-Ireland level.
He established himself as a stylish half forward on the Ballyhale Shamrocks senior team in their successful run to the AIB Leinster and All-Ireland titles.
The duo received their awards from Uachtarán CLG John Horan and AIB Head of Retail Banking Denis O’Callaghan as part of a banquet to celebrate the two teams of winners.
Image Credit: Stephen McCarthy, Sportsfile