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It's the final countdown

Excitement builds as GUI confirm dates for All-Ireland showdowns at Donegal's Murvagh links


Fitting venue: Donegal Golf Club hosts the 2020 AIG Cups and Shields Finals. PICTURE: THOS CAFFREY / GOLFFILE.IE

Fitting venue: Donegal Golf Club hosts the 2020 AIG Cups and Shields Finals. PICTURE: THOS CAFFREY / GOLFFILE.IE

Fitting venue: Donegal Golf Club hosts the 2020 AIG Cups and Shields Finals. PICTURE: THOS CAFFREY / GOLFFILE.IE

The countdown is on to the AIG Cups and Shields Finals after the Golfing Union of Ireland confirmed the dates for the All-Ireland Finals at Donegal Golf Club's fantastic Murvagh links this month.

In the last update given on planning for the event, it was confirmed that the All-Ireland Finals would be played behind closed doors and this continues to be the case.

While the current public health restrictions in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland continue to permit All-Ireland Inter-Club matches, localised restrictions in certain regions require these matches to be played without spectators and there are still many to be decided in Leinster's AIG Senior Cup, Jimmy Bruen Shield, Junior Cup and Pierce Purcell Shield following the recent local lockdowns in Kildare, Offaly and Laois and restrictions in Dublin.

Clubs participating in the finals will be allocated a set number of attendees in further communication but many in Munster, Ulster and Connacht can now start planning for the All-Ireland Finals after last weekend's action around the country.

In Connacht, All-Ireland champions Galway retained the AIG Senior Cup, defeating Co Sligo 4-1 at Athlone, where Ballinasloe completed the double in the AIG Junior Cup and the Jimmy Bruen and Gort claimed the Pierce Purcell.

In Munster, the young guns of Faithlegg shocked Douglas 4-1 to lift their first Senior Cup as Castletroy won the Junior Cup and Spanish Point eventually beat Kenmare at the sixth tie hole in a Pierce Purcell final that took two days to complete.

The Munster final of the Jimmy Bruen Shield will take place this Saturday at Killarney's Mahony's Point course with Berehaven taking on Tramore and Shannon facing Fota Island.

In Ulster, Belvoir Park claimed the Senior Cup, defeating Slieve Russell 4-1 at Murvagh.

The Ulster semi-finals and finals of the Jimmy Bruen Shield take place at Concra Wood on Saturday with the Junior Cup and Pierce Purcell Shield set for Donegal Golf Club on Sunday.

In Leinster, there is still much to be decided following the challenges caused by the local lockdowns in recent weeks.

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"It's been challenging," said Joe McNamara, Chairman of Leinster Golf. "But we have worked hard to keep golf open for people while abiding by all the health protocols and the restrictions and lockdowns."

In the AIG Senior Cup, Royal Dublin face Co. Meath and reigning champions Carton House take on Dun Laoghaire in the semi-finals and finals at Naas on Sunday.

In the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield, Co Meath meet Malahide, Corrstown take on Cill Dara, Baltinglass meet Gowran Park and Stackstown face Elm Park in the quarter-finals this weekend, the semi-finals on October 11 and the decider set in Birr on October 18.

The Junior Cup will also be decided at Birr on October 18 with Ardee set to play Corrstown, Newlands taking Baltinglass, Kilkenny facing Greystones and Milltown taking on Waterford in their respective quarter-finals this weekend.

As for the AIG Junior Cup, Corrstown meet Baltinglass and Wexford play Elm Park in this weekend's semi-finals with the winners of the Leinster final on October 11 to play Balmoral or Cairndhu in the All Ireland semi-finals on October 29.

Meanwhile, as it has now been confirmed that underage competitive sport cannot take place at Level 3 or higher in the Irish Government's 'Living with COVID-19 Plan', and given the uncertainty of the current epidemiological situation and the possibility of Donegal being elevated to Level 3 restrictions before the finals, the final of the Irish Boys Inter-Club championship is postponed and will be rescheduled in the coming weeks.

AIG All-Ireland Finals 2020 schedule

Friday 16 October

Official Practice Round for AIG Senior Cup and AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield.

Saturday 17 October

AIG Senior Cup Semi-Finals:

8.30am Royal Dublin/Co. Meath/Carton House/Dun Laoghaire v Faithlegg,

9.15am Galway v Belvoir Park.

AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield Semi-Finals:

10.00am Berehaven/Tramore/Shannon/Fota Island v Ballinasaloe,

11.00am Donegal/Rockmount v Leinster champions.

Sunday 18 October

9.00am AIG Senior Cup Final.

10.00am AIG Jimmy Bruen Final.

Wednesday 28 October Official Practice Round for AIG Junior Cup and AIG Pierce Purcell Shield.

Thursday 29 October

AIG Junior Cup Semi-Finals:

8.00am Leinster champions v Balmoral/Cairndhu,

8.45am Castletroy v Ballinasloe.

AIG Pierce Purcell Shield:

9.30am Gort v Spanish Point,

10.30am Moyola Park/Dunmurry v Leinster champions.

8.30am AIG Junior Cup Final.

9.15am AIG Pierce Purcell Shield Final.

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