Sunday 4 December 2016

Fixtures chaos may cost Mayo kingpins spot in Connacht club championship

Published 20/09/2016 | 02:30

Connacht GAA chief John Prenty warned that they are “not in the habit” of changing fixtures. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Connacht GAA chief John Prenty warned that they are “not in the habit” of changing fixtures. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Mayo and Dublin county board officials face a major fixtures headache after Sunday's pulsating All-Ireland final draw.

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Dublin have a little wriggle room as they bid to run off their games in time to produce a side to compete in the Leinster club SFC.

However, the issue is much more acute in Mayo, who face the very real possibility of having no representatives in their provincial club championship.

Their schedule has been thrown into chaos by the draw. One round was already postponed in the wake of their All-Ireland semi-final win over Tipperary as the county sought to clear the way for preparations for last weekend.

And clubs in the county now face further disruption. The Mayo senior champions are due to play their Sligo counterparts in Connacht on October 30. The refixed All-Ireland final leaves them with four rounds to run off in just three weekends.

Any replays would only complicate the situation further and clog up and already jam-packed schedule.

Warned

Mayo's problems could be eased by the Connacht Council if they opted to rework their schedule. There are some free weekends within the provincial championship but Connacht GAA chief John Prenty warned that they are "not in the habit" of changing fixtures.

"Moving the game mightn't solve the problem," he said. "We are not in the habit of moving games anyway. If we have to go without them (the Mayo champions) then we have to go without them."

The Westerners could opt to follow Tipperary's example and play games midweek after the All-Ireland final. However, that could be met with resistance given the number of club players based outside the county.

Mayo provided the Connacht champions in two of the last three years, when Castlebar Mitchels won in 2013 and 2015 before going on to contest All-Ireland finals.

Dublin, meanwhile, confirmed that they have deferred senior football championship games until the weekend of October 8-9. They had originally been due to play their second round of fixtures over a number of days starting tomorrow week.

There are, however, senior hurling championship games down for decision this weekend that would involve a number of Jim Gavin's squad. And it remains to be seen which of those games will go ahead.

The Dublin football champions are due to take on their Carlow counterparts in the Leinster quarter-final on November 13, which leaves one free weekend in case replays are required.

Irish Independent

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