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Football final dual dilemma

County Board may delay decider


Conal Keaney in action for Ballyboden St Enda’s hurlers. Photo: Sportsfile

Conal Keaney in action for Ballyboden St Enda’s hurlers. Photo: Sportsfile

Conal Keaney in action for Ballyboden St Enda’s hurlers. Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin county board may be forced to delay the date for this year's senior football final to avoid a clash over dual players.

The decider is currently scheduled to take place on the weekend of September 19/20 but may yet be pushed back, depending on results in next weekend's hurling semi-finals. Ballyboden St Enda's meet Na Fianna next Sunday in Parnell Park in the second of the day's games.

Already, the Firhouse club have qualified for the football semi-finals, currently scheduled to be played over the same weekend as the hurling decider - September 12/13.

Conal Keaney, Simon Lambert and Stephen O'Connor were all part of 'Boden's football squad last Sunday for their extra-time victory over Raheny - with Keaney scoring five points from play. All are expected to be involved on Sunday for the hurlers and again the following week in the county final, should 'Boden progress.

Already, there is a potential clash over Cuala's involvement in the Dublin SFC2 semi-finals.

The Dalkey club are fixed to play Templeogue/Synge Street in the last four but that game is likely to be put back should Cuala beat Lucan next Sunday and make a fifth county senior hurling decider in six years. Con O'Callaghan and Mark Schutte are involved in both the hurlers' and footballers' campaign.

Dublin's CCC will consider the options available to them in the event of a clash, although the likelihood is that the remaining rounds of the football championship will be put back a week.

Staging games midweek is a viable option, particularly with spectators not attending.

But given that the programme of senior championship fixtures has so far run off without significant disruption - other than the postponement of the Raheny v St Oliver Plunkett's/ER group game due to a positive Covid-19 test for a player - a single week delay in concluding the competitions is unlikely to be a major issue for clubs.

It will, however, delay some players returning to county panels.

Dessie Farrell and Mattie Kenny will begin preparations for this year's rejigged All-Ireland championships on September 14, the day after the county hurling final is currently scheduled.

If either final was refixed for September 26/27, it would leave one of the county managers without at least some of their panel for the first two weeks of what is effectively their second pre-season of the year.

Dublin's footballers are provisionally scheduled to play Meath in the first of their two outstanding Allianz League games on the weekend of October 17/18.

Kenny's hurlers go straight into championship action against Laois in the quarter-final of the Leinster SFC on October 24/25.

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Meanwhile, O'Callaghan is Cuala's chief worry ahead of Sunday's Dublin SHC semi-final with Lucan Sarsfields.

The former Young Footballer of the Year and current All Star sat out his club's Dublin SFC2 victory over Ballyboughal on Sunday, the third championship match he has missed on consecutive weekends.

He is understood to be suffering from a knee injury that flared up in Cuala's round-robin defeat to Na Fianna on August 8.

The injury requires a period of rest and speaking after their quarter-final victory over St Brigid's, Cuala senior hurling manager Willie Maher said he didn't know whether O'Callaghan would be fit for Sunday's semi-final.

O'Callaghan missed all five of the League matches Dublin played after suffering a shoulder dislocation in the warm-up to a Sigerson Cup game back in January. Farrell will be keeping a close eye on the fitness of his panel ahead of the return to collective training on September 14.

Many of the issues have been caused by hamstring problems. Eoin Murchan played no part in Na Fianna's championship exit on Sunday, a match in which Ballymun's Paddy Small also limped out due to a hamstring injury.

Earlier, Colm Basquel was taken off in Ballyboden's extra-time victory over Raheny after 58 minutes.

Both Small and Basquel are, however, hoping to be fit for their clubs' respective Dublin SFC semi-finals in two weeks' time. On Saturday, Diarmuid Connolly played only the final quarter of St Vincent's loss to Kilmacud Crokes while Cormac Costello suffered a hamstring playing hurling for Whitehall last month.