The Lead Story: Let’s skip January and start in spring




Had the GAA made contact with local farmers in this part of the world as far back as last September, they would have been informed that we were set for a tough winter. “A seven month winter” as one farmer described it earlier in the week.

  Not surprisingly, the Irish climate at this time of year is threatening to play havoc with headquarters’ idea of an improved fixture list. The game called off last weekend means that the winners of the Michael Glavey’s and Kilanerin All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final this weekend will be back out the following weekend to play the final. Hopefully Croke Park will at least have the foresight to send an official armed with the Child of Prague to Mullingar in the run-up to Saturday’s showdown.

  Winter weather is becoming increasingly inhospitable to games played outdoors on grass and unfortunately, not every county has installed a top of the range, Croke Park-like pitch. However, the threat of postponements and loss of revenue, as we discovered here in Roscommon, is bound to lead to further financial pressure on already stretched county boards to do so.

  Irish soccer has already moved to the summertime for the most part and, as a result, underage competitions can be played on various evenings throughout the week, which I’m sure has resulted in fewer postponements and better playing conditions.

  The GAA is seen as the sport of the Irish summer so why not abandon the attempt to stage matches in January and claim back September and even October instead? Players could then use January for pre-season and we could avoid unpleasant situations such as late postponements, damage to pitches, training over Christmas, Dublin and Mayo on holidays, and 70 minutes standing in rain, hail, sleet and snow at the Hyde, trying to make out players on a dark Sunday afternoon.

* Whatever the weather, the very best of luck to Michael Glavey’s this Saturday in Mullingar!