This is according to Hogan Stand today and the possible change in venue is being put down to work that’s being done on the dressing rooms at Ballybofey. Like they never figured until now that it’d be a problem, eh? I smell a rat on this one, not least because a spot of googling has just enabled me to unearth this story from back in December, which states that the Donegal County Board were going to apply to Croke Park to switch our game to Letterkenny back then. They must have been sent away with a flea in their ear but it now appears that they’ve manufactured an “it’s-all-out-of-our-hands” type of excuse to achieve the outcome they wanted all along.
There’s been a whole load of internal bullshit politics within Donegal in the recent past about where they’re going to play their home matches in the league. Croke Park ordered them to play two of their three home games under lights at Ballybofey, leaving Ballyshannon and Letterkenny (as the other two venues with “county ground status” – whatever the fuck that is) to scrap it out over the remaining home tie, which is against Dublin. A decision about where to play that one was due to be taken by their County Board earlier this week but the meeting was conveniently cancelled because of the weather. Now, by engineering this supposed problem with the builders at Ballybofey (I think the quote from County Board Chairman Sean Walsh to the effect that “it might have been okay for a day game, but the night game is the problem” gives the game away somewhat: do ye not have any lightbulbs fitted up there, lads, or what?), all three grounds get a match each. And supporters travelling up from Mayo get to drive 30 extra miles in the lovely Donegal countryside. Neat, huh?
If our match gets bumped to Letterkenny then it’ll also, as this report confirms, have to be switched to the Sunday or perhaps moved forward to Saturday afternoon, as it’s only Ballybofey that has floodlights. The domino effect doesn’t end there: any switch in date will have implications for TV coverage because, as things currently stand, the match is due to be shown in full after the event on Setanta on Saturday night week (throw-in on the telly is due to start at 9.15pm). TG4 have the gig for coverage on Sundays so if the match is switched we could end up with it not being broadcast at all. I dunno what the crack would be if it’s played on the Saturday afternoon but I somehow doubt whether this would be a runner.
I was planning on sitting this one out, given that it’s supposed on the box (as well as that, I didn’t fancy the 300 mile drive, most of it in the dark, for an evening match up there) so, if a change in venue results in a change in date which results in a loss of TV coverage, it sounds like armchair followers like myself will be left with just the Mike and Billy Show on Madwest in order to follow the action.