Monday 1 May 2017

Ulster stick with U-21 final date despite fixture pile-up

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

ULSTER are pressing ahead with plans to play their U-21 football final next Wednesday even though that means a hectic 10-day period for whoever is involved.

Bad weather put paid to the semi-finals last Wednesday night and they have been refixed as a double-header in Brewster Park, Enniskillen, tomorrow.

The Ulster Council confirmed yesterday that they are still going ahead with their pre-arranged final date, due to the tightness of the inter-county schedule.

"The All-Ireland U-21 semi-finals are fixed for April 17 and the last round of the National Football League is on Sunday week (April 11) so there is no room for manoeuvre," a spokesman said.

The fact that all of the Ulster teams involved (Donegal, Derry, Monaghan and Cavan) have something to play for in the final round of NFL games in a week's time will leave managers sweating that their top underage stars come through unscathed.

contention

Derry and Monaghan are battling to avoid the drop in Division 1, Donegal are in contention for a place in the Division 2 final and Cavan still have an outside shot at promotion from Division 3.

Donegal's U-21s play Derry at 12.15 tomorrow, followed by Monaghan against Cavan (2.0) and the eventual Ulster champions play Munster's history-making new representatives Tipperary.

Sligo and Roscommon line out in the Connacht U-21 final in Markievicz Park tomorrow (5.30).

It is only the third time in 46 years that the Connacht U-21 final has not featured either Galway or Mayo.

This year's final offers Sligo a chance to make history as the county has never won a Connacht U-21 title in six previous attempts, including last year's defeat by Mayo.

Elsewhere, the Westmeath/Clare Division 2 NHL game, originally fixed for Sunday, has been moved to tomorrow (Ennis, 12.45) to allow Lake County fans to attend the Leinster U-21 football final against Dublin on Sunday.

The venues for the Division 3A and 4 NHL finals on April 10 have been fixed for Portlaoise (Kerry v Derry) and Kingspan Breffni Park (Longford v Monaghan) respectively.

Irish Independent

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