GAA consult media partners on TV schedules before finalising fixture list

All Leinster hurling championship fixtures to be played at neutral venues

Leinster hurling championship games will be played at neutral venues this summer – but not necessarily Croke Park. Photographer: Laszlo Geczo

Leinster hurling championship games will be played at neutral venues this summer – but not necessarily Croke Park. Photographer: Laszlo Geczo

 

The GAA are facing into a week of negotiations with their media partners so that they can thrash out television schedules before the 2021 games programme can be finalised.

It is expected that matters should be concluded by the beginning of next week. Venues will be more varied than last year when the demands of winter competition place a premium on good-quality surfaces and decent floodlighting.

A broader range of grounds will be available as all pitches will be in better order during the summer and matches can throw in at seven o’clock.

As a result the Leinster hurling championship, which will together with the province’s football be drawn on Tuesday’s Morning Ireland, will not need to play all of its fixtures at Croke Park. But all fixtures will be at neutral venues.

Munster may decide to do the same with their hurling championship so as not to interfere with the alternating arrangements for the round-robin championship when it resumes in 2022.

In football should Cork and Kerry reach the football final, and they are on opposite sides of the draw, the match will be in Killarney for the first time since 2017.

Champions Tipperary have to face the likely challenge of Kerry – who are yet again visited on Clare, who under manager Colm Collins’s eight years in charge, will be playing them for the seventh time in championship.

Tipp’s great achievement of winning Munster for the first time since 1935 may end in the same way by losing to Kerry in the following year’s semi-final.

Covid tests

Leinster football may feature a couple of matches with home and away arrangements but is unlikely to need to use more venues than last year when seven different grounds were used.

The Connacht football championship was also drawn on Monday and venues have been decided.

The draw pairs Galway and Roscommon in the semi-final whereas Mayo will again have two matches to prepare for a final should they as expected defeat Sligo and Leitrim.

Getting onto the field will be progress for Sligo, who had to withdraw last year because of Covid tests. That withdrawal may have impacted on Galway, who had to come into the Connacht final without any matches in the championship.

In hurling the Munster championship sees All-Ireland champions Limerick up against Cork, who they haven’t beaten in the province since 2013 – their one win in recent years the epic All-Ireland semi-final in 2018.

Clare and Waterford met in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final, which Liam Cahill’s team won with a late surge before going on to reach the final last December.

Limerick’s predecessors Tipperary play the winners and haven’t been Munster champions in five years even though they won an All-Ireland two years ago.

The trophy is to be named after Limerick great Mick Mackey, who captained the county to All-Irelands in the 1930s and ’40s and was the longest-serving member of the Munster Council.

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