Salthill are on their own!October 30, 2012 - 8:00am
A potential clash of big game fixtures at Pearse Sadium in two weeks time has been avoided, but the draw in Sunday’s senior hurling semi-final between Gort and St. Thomas’ has now left GAA officials with a new scheduling headache
It had come to light last week that the county hurling final and Salthill Knocknacarra’s Connacht Club football championship semi-final – provided St. Brigid’s of Roscommon won their provincial quarter-final – were set to go ahead at the city venue on the same day, November 11.
The reigning Connacht club champions duly hammered Melvin Gaels (2-19 to 0-10) on Sunday, but a tug of war over Pearse Stadium on November 11 has been averted following the draw in the first of the hurling semi-finals at Kenny Park. Salthill will now have Pearse Stadium to themselves when they host title holders St Brigid’s on that date.
That replay has already been fixed for the same venue next Sunday, forcing Hurling Board officials to delay the staging of county final which is already running late. It had been expected that the sport’s local showpiece would then go ahead on Sunday, November 18, but instead the Galway decider could be delayed until just four weeks before Christmas.
Loughrea, who qualified for their sixth final in ten years by a comfortable 1-12 to 0-7 victory over Turloughmore, are set to lodge a postponement application with the Hurling Board as the long serving Johnny Maher is due to get married on Friday, November 16, two days before the earliest possible date for the rescheduled final.
Given the club’s high profile due to its consistency in the title race over the past decade and Johnny Coen being a member of the Galway team which reached the All-Ireland final, the indications are that the Hurling Board are not prepared to go to war on the issue despite the lateness of the year.
That would clear the way for the county final to take place on November 25 at Pearse Stadium which holds the increasing risk of the game being marred by weather conditions and a reduced attendance due to its timing.
But bad conditions can crop up at anytime of the year as the four hurling semi-finalists discovered in Kenny Park on Sunday. Heavy rain had a detrimental effect on the quality of hurling for the big attendance but battle-hardened Loughrea were the only team to come through after a first-half Kenneth Colleran goal helped to ease them to an eight point victory over a Turloughmore which failed to repeat their exploits in their quarter-final success over Portumna.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.