Inter-pro football final to raise funds for Crumlin
THE inter-provincial football series has a worthy new beneficiary, with all proceeds from the next three finals going to the Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin.
The delayed All-Ireland Club JFC final between Kenmare Shamrocks of Kerry and Galway's Ballinasloe will act as the curtain-raiser to this year's decider at Croke Park on February 24.
It is hoped that the charity element to the day will help attract more attention than the series has enjoyed in recent years and pocket somewhere between €50,000 and €100,000 to help fund cancer and cardiac wards at the hospital.
GAA president Liam O'Neill admitted that plans for what form the series would take next year were at a very early stage, but he wants to see the inter-provincial fundraising become a traditional event.
"We're not sure yet what the possibilities are, but we will be giving it support. (Sponsor) Martin Donnelly is fully behind it and Crumlin Hospital and their huge network of people are behind it. If we get the word out, I think we can make this a significant event," he said.
The M Donnelly-sponsored series kicks off this weekend on one of the quieter weekends on the GAA's calendar. In football, reigning champions Ulster take on Munster at the Morgan Athletic Grounds, Armagh with throw-in at 2.15, while Leinster take on Connacht at 2.0 in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, Longford.
The first hurling semi-final between Ulster and Munster will take place at 12.30 before the football equivalent in Armagh, while the meeting of Leinster and Connacht takes place in O'Connor Park, Tullamore at 2.0.