Tuesday 17 July 2018

GAA fixtures and PRO14 final set for time changes to avoid clash with Liverpool's European final

Liverpool fans celebrate reaching the Champions League Final with a banner for fan Sean Cox after the UEFA Champions League, Semi Final, Second Leg at the Stadio
Liverpool fans celebrate reaching the Champions League Final with a banner for fan Sean Cox after the UEFA Champions League, Semi Final, Second Leg at the Stadio
Liverpool fans celebrate their progression to the UEFA Champions League final. Photo: Getty Images

Colm Keys and Rúaidhrí O'Connor​

The Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid could prompt two sports organisations to change the time of their own big fixtures falling on Saturday, May 26 to avoid a clash, it has emerged.

Leinster GAA will consider moving the throw-in times of their championship games, a move that would mirror a 2011 switch when an Offaly/Wexford football tie was brought forward a couple of hours to allow supporters to see Manchester United and Barcelona later on that Saturday night.

Offaly and Wexford are due to meet at 7pm on that Saturday night in Tullamore with Westmeath against Laois or Wexford in the football championship as a 5pm curtain-raiser.

Games with evening throw-ins are also due to take place in Ulster, Connacht and Munster.

In rugby, Guinness PRO14 managing director Martin Anayi said the body would work with its partner broadcasters to try to avoid a situation where the tournament's Grand Final clashes with the Liverpool game which kicks off at 7.45pm.

The PRO14 final, which is likely to feature either Leinster or Munster, is scheduled to kick off at the Aviva Stadium at 6.30pm on May 26.

Leinster GAA chairman Jim Bolger said they would listen to the counties to see what their thinking is.

"We would be open if we thought it was going to help our supporters and fans, to accommodate them if it was going to have a significant impact on us. It's not something we normally do even though there might be a precedent there."

Anayi said his organisation was "fan-friendly", adding "our audience on social media have been quite vocal telling me that we have to move the kick-off. People are saying that Liverpool going to the Champions League final is a really important game and it is.

"Can we move kick-off a bit forward, so that we can get in before the Champions League final and everyone in to our Fanzone which is going to have big screens? That's what we are furiously trying to arrange at the moment."

Irish Independent

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