Monday 27 January 2020

No Friday night lights for Dubs

GAA reject request to move Meath fixture

Brian Fenton of Dublin in action against Michael Newman of Meath during the Leinster SFC Final at Croke Park last June
Brian Fenton of Dublin in action against Michael Newman of Meath during the Leinster SFC Final at Croke Park last June

The GAA have explored the prospect of a Friday night League match between Dublin and Meath next March but the idea has been rejected in favour of a Sunday afternoon throw-in.

The Leinster rivals had been provisionally fixed to meet on Saturday, March 14 in Croke Park in the sixth round of next year's Allianz League Division 1 programme, Meath's first topflight campaign since 2006.

However, after a request from Meath, the GAA's CCCC examined the possibility of moving the game forward by 24 hours.


It is understood that Dublin were in agreement with the rearranged date and time and that the CCCC collated feedback from both counties.

Due to the relatively small distance Meath would be required to travel, there was initial optimism that the GAA would looked favourably on the request. However, it is understood the CCCC favour a Sunday afternoon throw-in, a fixture that will be finalised next weekend.

As yet, the programme for next year's League competitions has yet to be confirmed.

Central Council will ratify the 2020 fixtures at their November 23 meeting, effectively rubber-stamping the recommendations of the CCCC.

The GAA has been traditionally sceptical about the prospect of fixing League or Championship matches on weekdays, although many of the pre-season (O'Byrne Cup, Walsh Cup etc.) games have been played on Wednesdays or in some cases, Friday evenings in recent seasons.

In terms of League or Championship games, the GAA's last experimented with the idea was back in 2013, when neighbours Laois and Carlow were drawn together in round 1 of the qualifiers and the game was played on Friday, June 28 at 7.45 in Dr Cullen Park.

However, the trial was deemed problematic.

Players from both sides expressed their displeasure with the schedule afterwards, while the GPA also raised concerns about players requiring time off work.

Then, however, the major bone of contention was the lack of consultation with - and prior notice given to - the players involved who mostly, were in favour of the concept of a Friday night fixture.

There is a general acceptance now with Croke Park that if a Dublin/Meath League game can't be scheduled on a Friday night with four month's notice, it is unlikely to be an option for a senior inter-county match at any stage in the near future.

As with this year, Dublin are set to play four away matches in next season's League.

They host Monaghan, Meath and Kerry but face tricky road trips to take on Mayo, Galway, Tyrone and Donegal.

Dublin lost three games in this year's League, their worst spring performance since 2012.

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