Big freeze results in bumper fixture list
THERE is set to be a busy programme in hurling and football this weekend as provincial bodies race to finish their competitions ahead of the New Year.
The fixture schedule has been decimated in recent weeks, with the Munster senior club football final re-fixed for Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
Like many matches, the clash between Dr Crokes from Kerry and Cork outfit Nemo Rangers was due to take place yesterday, but it was called off due to the weather.
The province's junior club hurling and football finals will be played as a double-header in Mallow on Sunday. The hurling clash between Meelin (Cork) and St Patrick's (Tipperary) is the curtain-raiser to the football clash between Bryan Sheehan's St Mary's (Kerry) and Bruree from Limerick.
Other matches that will be decided include the Ulster club SFC final and the Leinster senior football and hurling deciders.
The postponement of the Ulster decider gives Croke Park another headache, as the winners of the Crossmaglen versus Naomh Conaill clash were due to travel to Ruislip to play London champions Neasden Gaels on Sunday. That is expected to be pushed back when the Competitions Controls Committee meet today.
There were reports yesterday that Cork hurling manager Denis Walsh rejected a plea from a number of players to reinstate Sean Og O hAilpin to the squad. Walsh told O hAilpin earlier this year that he wasn't part of his plans for 2011.
The delegation sought to have the Na Piarsaigh man reinstated, but they were told the decision to drop the 2005 All-Ireland-winning captain had been made purely for hurling reasons and that it was the manager's remit to make decisions regarding team matters and selection.
O hAilpin's younger brother Aisake has already quit the panel in protest at the management's decision and has returned to Australia, where he will resume his Aussie Rules career in the New Year.
Galway hurling manager John McIntyre has enlisted the services of former Munster rugby strength and conditioning coach Andy O'Neill for the coming season.
O'Neill replaces John Kearney in what is the only change to McIntyre's back-room team, with selectors Joe Connolly, John Hardiman and John Moylan committed to another season.
Midfielder Padraig Clancy has given new Laois football boss Justin McNulty a major boost by committing himself to the O'Moore County cause for 2011.
Serious doubts about Clancy's intentions were generated when, earlier this year, he opted out of the Laois panel after losing his appetite for inter-county football, and so missed out on the entire league campaign.
"He's been a tremendous warrior for Laois down through the years and hopefully he will prove of equal importance to us next year," McNulty said.
Leo O'Connor will take charge of the Limerick U-21 hurlers for a third consecutive year in 2011.