GAA to avoid Euros clash
Championship faces little disruption by Boys in Green
Published 24/11/2011 | 05:00
NEXT year's Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine will have only minimum impact on the GAA championships -- even if some of Ireland's games are played over weekends.
The earliest kick-off times at the Euro finals will be 5.0 (Irish time) so a slight tweaking of the GAA's starting times would avoid a clash if Ireland's games are played on Saturday or Sunday.
The Euro finals start on Friday, June 8, with two games per evening played up until the completion of the group stages on Tuesday, June 19.
Provincial championship games are fixed for June 9/10 and 16/17. The Saturday evening games would normally have 7.0 starts, which might coincide with an Ireland game, but they could easily be brought forward.
The championships fixtures on the Saturdays involved are as follows -- June 9 SFC: Galway/Roscommon versus Sligo/New York; Clare versus Limerick/Waterford; June 16 SFC: Kildare versus Offaly.
The Sunday programmes on June 10 and 17, which feature games in Leinster, Munster and Ulster, might also have to be brought forward slightly if Ireland are in action at 5.0 but it would not cause a major disruption.
If Ireland qualify for the quarter-finals, they will be in action in one of the four games on June 21-24 (Thursday to Sunday) with a 7.45 kick-off. The semi-finals are played midweek (June 27/28) with the final at 7.45 on Sunday, July 1.
The position will become clearer following the draw for the Euro 2012 group games, which will be made tomorrow week.
Most of the provincial councils have indicated that they will make the necessary adjustments to avoid a clash with an Ireland game. That would also be required to facilitate RTE, who have Euro and GAA commitments.
The Ulster Council had a bad experience during the 2002 World Cup finals when they ran the Derry-Donegal semi-final against Ireland versus Spain, resulting in a very small crowd for what's normally a major attraction.