Two Monday hurling quarter-finals postponed as fixtures pile-up goes on
Wexford v Galway and Dublin v Tipperary games postponed; other games face morning inspections
The Allianz Hurling League quarter-final between Wexford v Galway at Wexford Park has been postponed. Photograph: Inpho
Not since Napoleon has a campaign been as disrupted by snow as this season’s GAA national leagues.
A raft of postponements followed the return of snow over the eastern counties of Ireland from late on St Patrick’s Day, with Monday's public holiday set to be utilised for refixtures.
By Sunday night, two of the Allianz Hurling League quarter-finals were further postponed as the meetings of defending champions Galway and Wexford at Innovate Wexford Park and the Parnell Park clash between Dublin and Tipperary were shelved for a second time in the space of 12 hours.
The two remaining quarter-finals are subject to early morning inspections, with the throw-in for the meeting of Offaly and Kilkenny in Tullamore being put back by 30 minutes. The second part of the doubler-header at Bórd na Mona O’Connor Park, the Division Three football meeting between Offaly and Sligo, is now scheduled to throw in at 3.15pm.
The two hurling quarter-finals will likely take place next weekend with details to be announced by the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee on Tuesday.
With what now seems like hapless timing, this was to be the first year of an April dedicated to club fixtures. Instead the Siberian winds have wrought havoc with the schedules and that continued over the weekend of the national holiday with all four hurling quarter-finals called off on Sunday and fixed optimistically for Monday.
The postponement of two quarter-finals, however, clearly eases the pressure to complete the other two, given that an extra weekend is going to be required. The knock-on effect will see the league hurling final moved back to the second Sunday in April.
This represents a two-week slippage in the fixtures, as the final was originally scheduled for March 25th and will focus attention on the decision of Central Council to retain the hurling league quarter-finals despite recommendations from the Hurling Development Committee that they be dropped to ease pressure on the games calendar.
This year has been very challenging because of the weather. Earlier in the year, heavy rainfall forced a number of postponements and the unusual snow storms of recent weeks have made further inroads into the schedules.
One Croke Park source said that the number of intercounty matches called off so far this year exceeded any other in the GAA’s history.
The weekend threw up a number of fixture headaches, as a number of football league matches were also postponed on Sunday, while on Saturday the club hurling final between Cuala and Na Piarsaigh ended in a draw after extra time and the replay will be another item on the agenda for the CCCC’s deliberations.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio on Sunday, GAA spokesperson Alan Milton said weather conditions had been exceptional and that people intending to attend Monday’s matches should check media to find out whether pitch inspections had been passed.
“It’s been freakish when you consider how often we get snowfalls of the type we’ve had twice in a three-week period. I’m told there’s a weather warning in place until six o’clock this [Sunday] evening so it’s going to depend on pitch inspections that will take place early tomorrow morning to determine whether the matches called off today can proceed.
“We obviously hope that they can but people would be advised to keep an eye on our official platforms, gaa.ie and our social media platforms.
“The CCCC are going to be very busy on Tuesday morning because we’ve a club hurling final replay to re-fix in addition to a number of other games, which may or may not go ahead tomorrow.”
Milton went on to point out that despite the unusual weather patterns, the GAA had managed to take three weeks off the intercounty calendar compared to last year.
“It’s not what anyone wanted or anyone intended but if you look at last year, the corresponding fixtures were taking place on the last weekend in April so we’ll still be three weeks ahead of where we would have been. The intention of keeping April entirely free for club activities would be hit and that’s not something that anybody would be happy about, but as we’ve already alluded to these circumstances are outside our control.
“People may say that it was a very, very tight schedule to run but I don’t believe that would have been an excuse for not trying to do it and not trying to create more opportunities for clubs to play their games.”
Monday 19th March (All subject to morning pitch inspections)
Allianz Hurling League Division One quarter-finals
Offaly v Kilkenny, Bórd na Móna O’Connor Park, 1.30
Wexford v Galway, OFF
Dublin v Tipperary, Parnell Park, OFF
Limerick v Clare, Gaelic Grounds, 4.0
Allianz Hurling League Division 2A final
Westmeath v Carlow, Portlaoise, 2.30
Allianz Football League
Louth v Meath, Drogheda Gaelic Grounds, 2.0
Down v Tipperary – CCCC will confirm re-fixture details on Tuesday, as Monday 19th is not a public holiday in Northern Ireland.
AFL Division Three
Offaly v Sligo, Bórd na MonaO’Connor Park, 3.15