Freeze 'could force provincial finals back to late January'
THE weather continues to play havoc with GAA schedules, with the Leinster Council set to decide today whether to go ahead with their weekend fixtures.
Secretary Michael Delaney has admitted that Leinster's club finals could run well into the New Year.
Sunday's Leinster football decider between Kilmacud Crokes and Rhode in Portlaoise, the senior hurling clash between O'Loughlin Gaels and Oulart-The Ballagh in Carlow and the junior and special junior hurling deciders appear to be under significant threat as the east is heavily affected by snow and sub-zero temperatures.
"We're going to make a call on all the games at lunchtime" said Delaney yesterday. "We will make a decision based on what the weather has been like, and the forecast.
"It might be a little bit early to be making the call, but in fairness to everybody involved we feel that it's the best thing to do."
Delaney concedes that there is a danger that the disruption will continue, with Sunday's scheduled finals, as well as the junior and intermediate football deciders fixed for the following week, being pushed back until the end of next month.
"The forecast is only going into the middle of next week and there's no great improvement between now and then," he said.
"If we lose this weekend's games we will provisionally go the weekend of the 12th. After that, if we fail to get them played, they will go towards the end of January. We won't go Christmas week."
The Ulster Council faces an even more pressing issue. Their club SFC final between Crossmaglen and Naomh Conaill has already been put back by a week and cannot afford another delay as they are due to send representatives to play British title holders Neasden Gaels in Ruislip on December 12.
Ulster Council PRO Oliver Galligan revealed that they are trying to move that fixture back in the event of another postponement.
"We have to have representatives going over, but if it comes to that, we'd be looking to get the London game changed," said Galligan.
Two matches fixed for Britain this weekend were cancelled yesterday. The All-Ireland club JFC quarter-final clash in Manchester between Parke and Lancashire's St Peters has been called off, and the All-Ireland club IHC quarter-final between Dicksboro and London side Kilburn Gaels.
Elsewhere, the GAA's annual Games Development Conference scheduled for Croke Park on Saturday has been cancelled and refixed for January 15.
Also postponed is the coaching conference organised by Donegal manager Jim McGuinness' Achieve Consultancy -- it has been refixed for the weekend of March 25-26. Existing bookings for both conferences remain valid for the new dates.