There are a number of positives with the GAA’s pre-season competitions.
You can introduce players into an inter-county environment in low-pressure situations. There is also a chance for more established players to run off the cobwebs ahead of the new campaign.
Then, of course, there is the chance at silverware – for many counties, their best chance at winning a trophy in a given year.
However, 2018 was a rough year for the pre-season competitions. After starting in 2017 (albeit on December 30), there were a number of negative headlines associated with the likes of the Dr McKenna Cup and other early-season competitions.
Inclement weather meant there was fixture congestion in January and the O’Byrne Cup final in Leinster between neighbours Meath and Westmeath was postponed.
Given the condensed nature of the GAA calendar this year, the free slots for playing this game were few and far between.
Having played three weeks in a row, this weekend, February 17/18, was meant to be a respite for counties before they finish off the last four rounds of the National Leagues in five weeks.
However, with the postponement of Meath v Westmeath and the Donegal v Tyrone McKenna Cup final, those games were pencilled in for this weekend.
However, what the GAA didn’t anticipate, and couldn’t afford, was a round of NFL games would be called off for one reason or another.
Donegal and Tyrone were lucky that their games didn’t fall victim to the weather, however, the same could not be said for the Royals – who failed in two attempts to get their clash with Cavan played due to the conditions in Kingspan Breffni Park.
Due to the torrential rainfall this evening, following a pitch inspection, the pitch in Kingspan Breffni has been deemed unplayable. Therefore this evenings #AllianzLeagues football game between Cavan and Meath is postponed. pic.twitter.com/2XL0gpB2Kp
— Official Cavan GAA (@CavanCoBoardGaa) February 10, 2018
— Official Cavan GAA (@CavanCoBoardGaa) February 11, 2018
Andy McEntee’s side travel to Cavan again this weekend to try to eventually get this round 3 game played.
However, this has led to the O’Byrne Cup final being pushed to the side yet again.
Now the final of the pre-season competition will take place on March 11.
The final of the pre-season competition will take place six days after Meath’s fifth league game.
National Football League re-fixtures – all games on Sunday, February 18
Monaghan v Kerry, Inniskeen, 2.30pm
Cavan v Meath, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm
Derry v Offaly, Celtic Park, 2pm
Sligo v Fermanagh, Markievicz Park, 2pm
Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup final
Westmeath v Meath, TEG Cusack Park, 2pm
Check out the latest episode of The 16th Man where we defend the honour of the Kildare footballers and discuss Shane Dowling’s wonder-goal for Na Piarsaigh: