The January pre-season competitions, shelved this year due to Covid, were meant to be axed permanently arising from the mooted changes to inter-county competition structures. Instead it was the planned changes that bit the dust – for now at least – and so it’s no surprise that the pre-season tournaments will be back once again in the New Year.
For us, that means our old friend the FBD Connacht League, which isn’t a league at all, returns to the fixture list. The 2021 version has a significant novelty factor, as all the matches are set to be played in the dome at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan.
This is the first time that Senior inter-county matches will have been played there, which in all likelihood also means they’re the first Senior inter-county games ever played at an indoor venue.
I’ve no idea what this means in terms of permitted attendance (if any) at these matches. This is a topic that is clouded both by the current high daily infection numbers and by the fact that it’s an event taking place at an indoor venue. Would, for example, it be restricted to punters with Covid certs? Your guess is as good as mine.
What has been confirmed, however, is that all the FBD matches will be streamed live, which is another innovation as, up until now, there hasn’t been a whole load of streaming of inter-county games (aside from the Covid-era wider availability of the GAA GO service and the matches TG4 have streamed via YouTube).
Other issues of note in relation to the 2022 FBD competition is that unlimited substitutions will be allowed in matches, meaning all 26 players named in match-day panels could see game time, though players withdrawn cannot be re-introduced (unless it’s a temporary blood substitution). All matches will be decided on the day, with extra-time and a possible ‘golden score’ used to break stalemates.
Here are the fixtures for the 2022 FBD:
- PRELIMINARY ROUND: Leitrim v Sligo, Tuesday 4th January
- SEMI-FINAL: Mayo v Galway, Friday 7th January
- SEMI-FINAL: Leitrim/Sligo v Roscommon, 8th January
- FINAL: scheduled for Friday 14th January
So, with the FBD fixtures nailed down and the League schedule set to be confirmed soon, today’s confirmation that the GAA’s season ticket scheme is set to be reactivated in 2022 is very welcome news.
According to a piece in today’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants), we had 3,622 season ticket holders at the time the scheme was suspended in August last year due to the restriction on attendance at matches arising from the pandemic. All of these season ticket holders will be given the option to renew their membership for 2022.
The 2022 price of the Cáirde Mhaigh Eo (Club Plus) ticket will be €250, as opposed to €200 pre-Covid. This is, I think, the first price rise for this ticket since the scheme began a decade ago. The price of the standard season ticket rises to €150 compared to €120 previously.
According to that Mayo News piece, renewals will open “in the coming weeks.” I’ll give a heads-up on this here once I this happens.