The GAA has a long tradition of playing championship finals outside of the year they were originally intended to be finished, only this evening's Bord Gáis Energy Leinster Under-20 final at O'Connor Park is the first of modern times.
Just over eight months since the beginning their campaign, and already past the longest day of 2021, Dublin and Galway will contest the 2020 final in Tullamore (7.30, Live TG4), a game that at one stage was scheduled to take place on January 3rd, 2021.
Dublin have beaten Antrim, in the first round (on October 21st), Offaly in the quarter-final (on December 12th) and then Wexford in the semi-final (on December 18th) to progress to Wednesday night’s provincial decider – before the second major lockdown took care of the final.
Dublin have won the Leinster Under-21/20 hurling championship on six occasions, the last coming in 2016.
Despite the long wait, there are just four changes to the Galway team to face Dublin. Seven months on from their 0-19 to 1-11 semi-final win over Kilkenny seven months ago, Eoin Lawless replaces Oisín Salmon at corner-back, Adam Brett comes in for Alex Connaire at midfield, Mark Kennedy takes Adrian Prendergast’s place in the half-forward line and John Cooney is preferred to Oisín Flannery at corner-forward.
Croke Park, meanwhile, is expected to announced further details for a return of spectators to the venues around the country following the success of two pilot events over the weekend.
On Saturday evening, the Derry footballers claimed a Division Three league title with victory over Offaly before a crowd of 2,400 supporters while, on Sunday, a similar attendance was allowed for Kilkenny’s camogie league final defeat of Galway.
A plan for the gradual return of spectators had already been drawn up months ago, and this is now expected to be rolled out during July and August, pending further approval from the Department of Health.
It has been suggested that in early August up to 5,000 people could be able to attend events in big outdoor venues, or 25 per cent of capacity, whichever is the lower figure. This could potentially mean around 10,000 spectators at the Leinster hurling and football finals in Croke Park mid-July, and over 25,000 at the All-Ireland finals in August.
There are further upcoming pilot test events at the Athletics Ireland National Championships (June 26th) at Santry, the Division One and Two women’s Gaelic Football Association League Finals (June 26th) at Croke Park
Other upcoming test events include -
July 1st, Thu-Sun, Mount Juliet, Kilkenny
Irish Open Golf (European Tour)
July 3rd, Aviva Stadium
Ireland v Japan
July 3rd, Semple Stadium, Thurles
GAA - Munster hurling semi-final Cork v Limerick
July 4th, Dr Hyde Park
GAA Connacht Football Championship: Roscommon v Galway
Finally Croke Park is also expected to confirm later this week that the number of permitted substitutes in football and hurling shall return to five, down from the seven allowed during the redesigned league so far this year.
Two substitutions were allowed in addition to the usual five given what was perceived to be the increased demands in preparing and playing a shortened competition.
Galway: (Leinster U20HC 2020 final v Dublin): Darach Fahy; Eoin Lawless, TJ Brennan, Jason O'Donoghue; Diarmuid Kilcommins, Conor Flaherty, Dylan Shaughnessy; Adam Brett, Ian McGlynn; Conor Walsh, Mark Kennedy, Sean Neary; John Cooney, John Fleming, Donal O'Shea.
Subs: Liam Reilly, Caimin Killeen, Oisín Salmon, Eoghan Geraghty, Fionn McDonagh, Sean McDonagh, Oisin Flannery, Niall Collins, Cillian Lawless.