Sunday 22 April 2018

Ulster stick with U-21 final date despite fixture pile-up

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

ULSTER are pressing ahead with plans to play their U-21 football final next Wednesday even though that means a hectic 10-day period for whoever is involved.

Bad weather put paid to the semi-finals last Wednesday night and they have been refixed as a double-header in Brewster Park, Enniskillen, tomorrow.

The Ulster Council confirmed yesterday that they are still going ahead with their pre-arranged final date, due to the tightness of the inter-county schedule.

"The All-Ireland U-21 semi-finals are fixed for April 17 and the last round of the National Football League is on Sunday week (April 11) so there is no room for manoeuvre," a spokesman said.

The fact that all of the Ulster teams involved (Donegal, Derry, Monaghan and Cavan) have something to play for in the final round of NFL games in a week's time will leave managers sweating that their top underage stars come through unscathed.


Derry and Monaghan are battling to avoid the drop in Division 1, Donegal are in contention for a place in the Division 2 final and Cavan still have an outside shot at promotion from Division 3.

Donegal's U-21s play Derry at 12.15 tomorrow, followed by Monaghan against Cavan (2.0) and the eventual Ulster champions play Munster's history-making new representatives Tipperary.

Sligo and Roscommon line out in the Connacht U-21 final in Markievicz Park tomorrow (5.30).

It is only the third time in 46 years that the Connacht U-21 final has not featured either Galway or Mayo.

This year's final offers Sligo a chance to make history as the county has never won a Connacht U-21 title in six previous attempts, including last year's defeat by Mayo.

Elsewhere, the Westmeath/Clare Division 2 NHL game, originally fixed for Sunday, has been moved to tomorrow (Ennis, 12.45) to allow Lake County fans to attend the Leinster U-21 football final against Dublin on Sunday.

The venues for the Division 3A and 4 NHL finals on April 10 have been fixed for Portlaoise (Kerry v Derry) and Kingspan Breffni Park (Longford v Monaghan) respectively.

Irish Independent

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