Sunday 8 December 2019

Saturday night's alright for Mayo-Down opener

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Mayo's home Division 1 league match with Down has been switched to the Saturday night slot that will get the 2011 NFL under way in February.

Armagh's home match against Dublin was the standout fixture on the first night of league action when the league fixtures were originally released to counties for approval.

But over the weekend, Central Council sanctioned the change, which will see the All-Ireland finalists make the journey west on Saturday now, instead of Sunday.

Most of the original dates for fixtures published in the Irish Independent two weeks ago remain in place.

Down and Galway were fixed for Sunday, February 20 but that game could yet take place in Newry on Saturday, February 19.

Similarly, the rematch between All-Ireland champions Cork and Down in Cork, which was originally proposed for Sunday, March 13, could now be played on Saturday evening.

The changes could be to align with Setanta's TV coverage of the leagues. The broadcast rights to the championship are up for negotiation again but the 2011 league rights are still with Setanta.

Last year, they broadcast two football matches simultaneously on Setanta Ireland and Setanta One and this schedule may be behind a desire to have two Division 1 matches on Saturday nights where possible.

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The Limerick and Offaly NFL Division 3 fixture has moved in the other direction, from Saturday, February 26 to the following Sunday.

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