Details of all the main GAA fixtures for the coming year which come under the control of the Connacht Council were published last night, all in one handy spreadsheet – available here.
This means that we now have some dates to work with for 2012, of which the most important one for now is that our defence of the Moclair Cup will start in McHale Park on 24th June next when we’re set to play the winners of Leitrim and London in the Connacht SFC semi-final. By the looks of it, we’ll probably be one of the last counties in the country to get going in the championship next year and Galway and Roscommon will be out of the traps more than a month ahead of us, as their preliminary round tie is due to be held on 20th May. Indeed, whoever wins that one will have played two championship games before we stir ourselves at all with the Galway/Roscommon v Sligo semi-final fixed for 9th June. The Connacht final is down for decision on 15th July, which could well mean that I’ll be following it from the sun lounger again.
Our soft draw in next year’s senior championship has been counterbalanced by the pig of a draw we’ve got at U21 level where we’ve been paired with defending Connacht and All-Ireland champions Galway in the preliminary round. Then if Ray Dempsey’s charges manage to clear that hurdle they’ll face the Rossies in the semi-final, with Sligo and Leitrim already paired in the semi-final on the other side of the draw. No dates have been provided for these matches yet but the Connacht U21 championship campaign is usually run off at fair old clip during the month of March so I guess we can expect the same to happen next year as well.
At minor level the draw has been kinder to us, as we’re down to face Sligo in the semi-final with this clash acting as the curtain-raiser at McHale Park on June 24th. Defending Connacht minor champions Roscommon open in the preliminary round against Leitrim with the winners facing Galway in the semi. No dates have been provided for either of those clashes yet.
The fixture list contains a wealth of other information about the 2012 provincial timetable, including when the FBD games might be on (where two options are laid out – with or without London) although at this stage the details of who is playing whom in the various rounds hasn’t been published as yet.