Big freeze takes toll on sporting fixtures

11 December 2010 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The continuation of the big freeze with subzero temperatures right across the country saw the decimation of practically every sporting event in the country over last weekend and the blanket cancellation of all the GAA matches.
The previous weekend all three Ulster club championship finals, the junior decider between Monaghan champions Corduff and Cavan champions Swanlinbar, the intermediate decider between Doohamlet and Fermanagh champions Lisnaskea and the senior final between Armagh champions Crossmaglen and Donegal champions Naomh Conaill, Glenties, were called off as the weather situation deteriorated.
Immediately the games were re-fixed for last weekend but by Friday it was obvious that not only was there going to be no let up in the Arctic weather but conditions were actually deteriorating and so on Friday it was announced that the junior and intermediate finals were again postponed. Shortly afterwards word came through that the senior final was also being called off.
Having a match postponed, especially a final, once, is disappointing but having it postponed twice on successive weekends is leading to a degree of frustration in all six camps.
That frustration is being exacerbated by the fact that due to the prevailing weather the teams cannot even get out to do any type of light training much less training sessions where they are working with the ball.
Passing the Doohamlet pitch though it was obvious that the players had been there for a light run out as evidenced by the many footprints in the snow but while fitness is not a problem all six teams involved are in a situation where it is difficult to keep concentration and momentum going.
No doubt all the clubs will have devised special means by which to minimise any negative effects that the postponements will have and all are united in the hope that the weather will improve sufficiently for the games to take place this weekend as a further postponement at this stage would probably see the games put off until the New Year.
At least that would give the players something of a short break but as of now with things on hold they are facing a fairly lengthy spell of inactivity although the inactivity does not constitute a break from training.
There is an argument though emanating from certain quarters that staging the final games in the club championships by the end of November or into early December is not necessary as the All Ireland finals do not take place until well into the New Year, with the senior final in fact not taking place until St. Patrick’s Day and that is something that may well prompt a review of the structure of the club championships.
In Crossmaglen’s case there is the added problem that they have an away match against the champions of Britain, Neasden Gaels of London and that game has to be played in the early weeks of the New Year as the semi-finals are due to take place before the end of January.
The winners of the junior and intermediate club championships go straight through to the all Ireland semi-finals.
No doubt the controlling body, the Ulster Council, is keeping a very keen eye on the weather forecasts and will be hoping that the thaw that is predicted to manifest itself during Thursday and into Friday will actually take place and leave grounds playable so that the matches can be staged over the weekend Pictures: Copyright Northern Standard

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