Saturday 21 April 2018

2017 leagues to conclude two weeks earlier

The 2017 Allianz football and hurling league finals look set to be played two weeks earlier with a month-long period largely free of inter-county fixtures being created between April and May. Stock photo: Philip Fitzpatrick / Sportsfile
The 2017 Allianz football and hurling league finals look set to be played two weeks earlier with a month-long period largely free of inter-county fixtures being created between April and May. Stock photo: Philip Fitzpatrick / Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The 2017 Allianz football and hurling league finals look set to be played two weeks earlier with a month-long period largely free of inter-county fixtures being created between April and May.

It follows the weekend decision by Central Council to approve recommendations to scrap the football league semi-finals and move towards more dual league weekends.

It will help to wrap up the hurling league quicker while also tightening the football league so that the final can be played the week after the final round.

That takes place on the weekend of April 2/3 this year so conceivably the league football finals could be concluded by April 10. As it is eight teams are engaged until April 24 with the current calendar.

With the U-21 football competition being moved to an U-20 summer competition two more April/May weekend are being taken out of it.

The GAA are confident that an early to mid-April conclusion for both the hurling and football league can create a three to four week window for clubs.

Many counties will still have to contend with the early rounds of the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups during this period however which absorb the time of so many club players.

The approval of those motions represent another piece in the jigsaw as GAA officials try to strike a better balance between club and county games.

An earlier date for the All-Ireland U-21 final, by possibly three weeks, will also free some time for counties at the other end of the programme.

Central Council did not discuss championship reform after a motion it supported, calling for the introduction of an eight-team B championship, was withdrawn before Congress.

Irish Independent

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