Ulster Council officials are keeping their fingers crossed that the arctic weather conditions will relent by next weekend to permit the staging of the provincial senior, intermediate and junior club football championship finals which were wiped out yesterday because of frozen pitches.
The matches have been re-arranged for next Saturday and Sunday at the same venues and times as were applicable for the weekend just past but last night one official admitted that this has been done more in hope than confidence.
“We are aware that it is being predicted this very severe spell of weather could last for the next fortnight and that certainly would have an impact on all sport. We would like if at all possible to bring the curtain down on the Ulster fixtures programme by having the three finals played next weekend,” he said.
Indeed, the winners of yesterday’s postponed Crossmaglen Rangers v Naomh Conaill senior club final were due to have been in action against British champions Neasdon Gaels next Sunday in the All Ireland Club quarter-final.
“Obviously this match has had to be put on hold. We can only wait and see how things go. We made the decision on Saturday afternoon to postpone our entire week-end programme and it proved a very sensible step given what happened. We would appear to be in for more severe weather over the next few days but we will just have to monitor things,” added the spokesman.
Meanwhile, with fears that the grants currently payable to inter-county players under the agreement between the Republic’s government and the Gaelic Players Association may still be in jeopardy, the GAA itself is now prepared to discuss a proposal whereby it would allocate five to 10 per cent of gate receipts and advertising revenue to a players’ grants fund. It is estimated that up to €1.35 could be made available for a players’ fund in this way.