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GAA chiefs praised for making decision to call games off early

 

By John Campbell

The GAA's decision to postpone all Allianz League Football and Hurling fixtures scheduled for this weekend has been hailed on all sides.

In the past, chiefs have tended to drag their feet in terms of making decisions in relation to the staging of games when the weather deteriorated rapidly but this time round they have acted quickly and decisively.

The Round Five matches in the hurling league originally fixed for this weekend will now be played on March 10-11 while the Division One quarter-finals will move to the weekend of March 17-18.

The semi-finals will now be played over the course of the March 24-25 weekend and the final will be played on March 31.

Round Five of the Allianz Football League, due to be played this weekend, will move to March 10-11.

Any exceptions to the above will be addressed in an anticipated revised fixtures programme to be issued on Monday from Croke Park which will incorporate the dates for the remaining rounds of the Allianz Football League.

With April having already been set aside for club activity only, the GAA authorities are keen to see both league competitions completed by Sunday, April 1 which is the date of the football final.

Since the start of the year, GAA, in tandem with other sports, has been bedevilled by postponements and indeed by instances of extra-time, including the UUJ v UCD Sigerson Cup semi-final which generated two phases of extra-time before there was an outcome.

It had been hoped, too, to stage the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup within a streamlined timeframe in January but the final was not played until February 17 when Donegal ended Tyrone's dominance of the competition.

The weekend wipe-out means that the waiting game goes on for those sides anxious to consolidate their drive for promotion while for others it serves to prolong the anxiety as they strive to haul themselves clear of relegation worries.

No fewer than six Ulster sides were due to go into action tomorrow night in what was to be one of the most attractive Saturday night fixture packages of the year but instead they will be kicking their heels.

Now Down boss Eamonn Burns will not know until next weekend if his team can revive their Division Two campaign against Cavan, Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney must wait a little longer to see if his side can step nearer promotion and Tyrone supremo Mickey Harte gets a little extra breathing space to plot his team's strategy for their vital tie against Donegal.

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