It’s been a relatively quiet week in the GAA circles as we prepare for a bumper weekend in the Allianz Leagues as well as the highly-anticipated AIB Club Senior Championships finals.
In preparation for the weekend’s games, catch-up on all the GAA news to hit the headlines this week in our round-up below.
Bumper GAA Weekend In Store
Thanks to the poor weather conditions two weeks ago, three Allianz Hurling League quarter-finals will take place on Saturday, on top of the Allianz Football League fixtures.
In Pearse Stadium, Galway and Wexford will meet in the first quarter-final at 1.30pm in the first of a double-header with the Galway footballers due to face Roscommon at 3.30pm. Waterford will host Clare in Walsh Park at 3pm, while at 4.30pm, Dublin will take on Tipperary in Semple Stadium to decide the final semi-finalist.
In the relegation play-off, Kilkenny will face Cork in Nowlan Park at 2pm, though neither team will drop down.
As well as the hurling, there are 16 Allianz Football fixtures set for Saturday with Sunday dedicated to the AIB All Ireland club finals in Croke Park with Ballyhale Shamrocks v St Thomas’ set to throw-in at 2pm while Corofin v Dr Crokes in the football final will begin at 3.45pm.
Clifford And O’Donoghue Return To Kerry Training
Star forwards, David Clifford and James O’Donoghue have returned to Kerry training following injury spells. The Kingdom are currently preparing to face Mayo in a sold-out Austin Stack Park on Saturday evening (throw-in at 7pm.)
Clifford underwent surgery on his shoulder over the winter and manager, Peter Keane, confirmed that he is making good progress and could feature in this weekend’s Allianz League clash. While it is less likely that O’Donoghue will make an appearance against Mayo, the Killarney Legions man also returned to training last week following his hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, Paul Geaney will miss Saturday’s game after undergoing a procedure on his back.
Michael Fennelly A Doubt For All Ireland Club Final
Ballyhale Shamrocks could be without the services of Michael Fennelly’s for Sunday’s AIB Senior Club Hurling Final.
According to the Kilkenny People, the 34-year-old injured his knee during their semi-final victory over Ballygunnar last month and is in a race against time to be fit for the St Patrick’s Day date.
“Michael is a warrior, a key man for us,” Ballyhale manager, Henry Shefflin told the paper.
“Michael has been in situations like this before, and he has worked his way through them. We are hopeful he will be ready for action.”
The eight-time All Ireland winner is a key figure for the Kilkenny side who go in the hunt for their seventh club title.
UL Refuse To Play Fresher Final Following Fixture Chaos
The University of Limerick refused to play in the Fresher Hurling All Ireland final against Limerick IT yesterday after the match was changed from the original venue.
The game was due to take play in the Mary Immaculate College Grounds yesterday afternoon but it was switched after the CCC deemed the ground to be “unsuitable”. A coin toss subsequently handed home advantage to LIT.
UL released a statement an hour before throw-in stating that they would honour the original fixture in Mary I, while the LIT team and the officials took to their home pitch.
— Marisa Kennedy (@MarisaK96) March 13, 2019
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, UL GAA Development Officer, Ronan Keane, said that the college were not informed about the coin toss until the following day while he argued that the grounds in LIT and UL were as open as that in Mary I.
“Unofficially, on a phone call I was told that it is not an enclosed venue and shouldn’t be used. I was completely baffled by that because both LIT and UL are not enclosed venues for an unenclosed venue when you already have one is bizarre altogether.
“Mary I has hosted Fitzgibbon games over the years. The pitch is perfectly playable. We weren’t looking for any special treatment here. We were looking for the fixture to go ahead as it was agreed.
“We are very disappointed. Ultimately, we are gutted for the players. LIT don’t want this, we certainly don’t want this. We just want to play the Fresher Final, in a neutral venue and give it the respect it deserves.”