Friday 24 November 2017

Leinster club finals off until January

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The Leinster club finals will not now take place until the end of January after pitch inspections by the provincial council yesterday.

The Kilmacud Crokes v Rhode football final and the hurling decider between O'Loughlin Gaels and Oulart-The Ballagh had been re-fixed for this Sunday.

"We took professional advice," said Leinster chief executive Michael Delaney. "We had Richard Hayden down, who looks after the Croke Park pitch. The conclusion was that even a seven-degree thaw on Friday might not clear all the snow and when it does it could lead to excessive flooding because of the sheer volume.

"They will now probably be played on the last weekend in January, the weekend before the leagues resume."

The postponement will please Kilmacud Crokes. By the end of January they may have their trio of long-term injured players -- Paul Griffin, Mark Davoren and Darren Magee -- all back in action. Injuries to Rory O'Carroll and Mark Vaughan will also have time to heal.

A number of Kilmacud Crokes players didn't go with the Dublin squad on their week-long trip to Dubai on Sunday evening because the football final had been fixed. Some made their way to Dublin Airport last night in an attempt to catch a flight to Dubai.

Meanwhile, the Ulster Council will wait until Friday to decide on whether its rearranged club football finals can go ahead as planned this weekend.

The senior final, between Crossmaglen Rangers and Donegal champions Naomh Conaill, is due to take place in Clones on Sunday as part of a double-header with the junior final, between Swanlinbar (Cavan) and Corduff (Monaghan).

The intermediate final, between Doohamlet (Monaghan) and Lisnaskea (Fermanagh), has been refixed for Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday afternoon.

In Munster, the club football final will go ahead on Sunday despite suggestions that it may be brought forward by 24 hours to avoid a clash with Munster's Heineken Cup fixture against Ospreys.

The Nemo Rangers v Dr Crokes game takes place in Limerick's Gaelic Grounds at 2.0 on Sunday, just an hour after Munster's tie with Ospreys kicks off nearby in Thomond Park.

Munster PRO Jim Forbes denied there was ever a move by the provincial council to switch the game with Saturday. "Once the gardai cleared it we were happy to go ahead with Sunday at that time," said Forbes. "The crowd attending the rugby match will be well in by the time our crowd are going into the Gaelic Grounds."

With so much traffic in that part of Limerick city, though, there is bound to be a knock-on effect on crowd attending the the later game.

Irish Independent

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