Sunday 27 May 2018

Leinster confident U-20s will avoid June club clash

Leinster chief executive Michael Reynolds. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Leinster chief executive Michael Reynolds. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Leinster will double the number of games played as its U-21 championship becomes a summer-based U-20 championship in 2018.

The fixtures for the new competition have been confirmed and will see three round robin groups play off over three rounds in May and June.

The decision to organise the U-20 championship in this manner, increasing the number of games from 10 at U-21 level to 20, follows the example of the football and hurling championships at senior level which are also increasing the number of inter-county games played with the over-arching sentiment to give more time back to the clubs. Some will see this extra load as another contradiction.

But Leinster have pressed ahead with this format because of the competition's developmental nature and chief executive Michael Reynolds remains confident that there shouldn't be a clash with club fixtures in the month of June.

Players involved with U-20 squads will be compelled to play for their clubs in any games arranged during this competition but that remains to be seen. Those listed on 26-man senior squads, even if they don't play, will not be permitted to play in subsequent U-20 games.

Reynolds believes that June will be relatively short on club games because of the concentration of inter-county games in this month and that counties will tailor their games programmes accordingly.

"This was what our counties wanted. We consulted them extensively. But there will only be a clear picture next July when all these competitions are completed," he pointed out.

While few, if any, local championship games are expected to take place in June, it is potentially prime time for club league football and hurling that will test the availability of players.

Leinster will play the first two rounds on Monday evenings before switching to Saturdays for the remainder of the programme.

Munster have made their U-20 draw but have yet to confirm dates while Ulster will do so early next week. Connacht will give their U-20 competition some added prestige by playing the final as a curtain-raiser to the provincial senior final on Sunday, June 17. Unlike Leinster, Connacht have stuck to a straight knockout.

2018 Connacht U-20 championship

Saturday, June 2 - Quarter-final: Roscommon v Sligo

Saturday, June 9 - Semi-finals: Galway v Roscommon/Sligo, Mayo v Leitrim.

Sunday, June 17: Final

2018 Leinster U-20 c'ship

Monday, May 28 - Round One

Group One: Longford v Dublin, Westmeath v Wexford. Group Two: Kildare v Laois, Wicklow v Meath. Group Three: Carlow v Offaly, Louth a bye.

Monday, June 4 - Round Two

Group One: Dublin v Westmeath, Wexford v Longford. Group Two: Laois v Wicklow, Meath v Kildare. Group Three: Louth v Carlow, Offaly a bye.

Saturday, June 16 - Round Three

Group One: Wexford v Dublin, Longford v Westmeath. Group Two: Meath v Laois, Kildare v Wicklow. Group Three: Offaly v Louth, Carlow a bye.

Friday, June 22-Sunday June 23

Quarter-finals: Group Three winners and runners-up v Group One and Group Two runners-up.

Saturday, June 30

Semi-finals: Group One and Group Two winners v quarter-final winners.

Saturday, July 7: Final.

Irish Independent

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