Connacht Council not for budging on Galway-Roscommon dead rubber
Teams already scheduled to meet in FBD League final on February 18th
Damien Comer: “Obviously we’re all here for the one thing, we all want the prize at the end of August, as it is now.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Everyone has their own definition of common sense – or indeed a dead rubber.
So Sunday’s FBD league meeting between Galway and Roscommon at Tuam Stadium will go ahead, even if both teams have already qualified for the final, set for February 18th – the first of only two free weekends in the Allianz Football League.
“You have to respect the integrity of the competition, can’t be moving the goalposts mid-season,” says John Prenty, CEO of the Connacht Council. “We’ve had several people telling us how to run the fixtures.
“But last year, in the last round of the Allianz Football League, Galway played Kildare in a dead rubber, then played each other again in the final. No one said that should be called off.
“Roscommon are playing Cork in the last round of the league this year, and could meet each other again in the final. Will they call that off? And Galway and Roscommon have all used about three different teams, each week, so I’m sure they can find 15 players for Sunday.”
Only Galway forward Damien Comer had been hopeful that “common sense might prevail”, and the Connacht Council would double up Sunday’s game, play it as a final.
“The only positive thing is you’d play strong teams in those first three Allianz league games, and maybe lads looking to get into the team might get to show themselves [in the FBD final]. But I still think it makes sense to play it off now, have it done in January. The final will be played again next month but it’s pointless really . . . ”
Comer is fully committed to the Galway footballers for 2018, having briefly flirted with the idea of trying his hand with the hurlers. The hurling fields of Galway certainly look greener right now, and Comer was considering switching had Galway not secured promotion to Division One of the Allianz Football League.
The 24 -year-old – who played both codes underage – is entering his fifth season on the Galway senior football panel, the first time in eight years they will ply their trade in the top flight.
“I would have thought about it this year, if we hadn’t got Division One status [in football]. With the league now it’s going to be a hectic schedule. Hurling wouldn’t come as naturally to me as other lads who have been playing it all their life. I played underage but it would have been a bit different, I’d have had to be in the handball alley a lot more, working on skills and that. It’s something that’s possibly there in future years. If the opportunity arose again then who knows, I might try it.
“I played a good bit underage, yeah. We’re an intermediate club at home [Annaghdown], so I play a small bit when I can. It’s hard with the county [football] set-up. The days of a dual player in a county I think it’s just not sustainable with the way it’s gone, the demands are too high. You’d need to have too very compromising managers who would know you inside out.
“But I’d be friendly with a lot of the hurlers. It [winning the All-Ireland] would definitely make you jealous in a way, the success they’ve had. There’s not much to it, you literally put the head down, work hard. When they won it, you’d be buzzing to get back training and to start the new season ahead. Obviously we’re all here for the one thing, we all want the prize at the end of August, as it is now.”