As was widely expected, the minors have been pencilled in to face Offaly in their All-Ireland quarter-final at Hyde Park in Roscommon. The match is set for next Saturday and will, as was also expected, form part of a minor double-header which also features Longford and Galway. What’s unexpected, though, is that the throw-in time for our match has been fixed for the very early time of 12.30 pm with the second match starting at 2 pm. It’s not clear why this is happening, apart from the fact that two of the senior quarter-finals at Croke Park are on that day as well – with Kerry and Down throwing in at 2 pm, followed by Tyrone and Dublin at four.
What’s a bit annoying, though, is that while our minors – along with those from Offaly, Galway, and Longford – are being forced to slum it down in Roscommon next weekend, the princelings from Kerry, Tyrone, Cork and Armagh are all being given the Croke Park treatment for their quarter-finals. Kerry and Tyrone will face off at HQ on Saturday at midday, while Cork and Armagh will do so the following day. I know that this is to suit the respective counties’ supporters but, while that’s all fine and dandy as far as it goes, it does mean that the two pampered sets of young aristocrats who’ll emerge from these clashes will have a distinct advantage over their country cousins when it comes to the semi-final stage, as they’ll already have had one successful outing in HQ under their belts by then.
If we get over Offaly, we’ll face the winners of Tyrone and Kerry in the semi-finals and while our recent minor record means that we shouldn’t fear any county at this grade, it would still be nice to do so on the basis of a level playing field. The coming weekend’s match scheduling obviously means that this now won’t be the case.