Up to now, the 2008 NFL fixtures have been on a week on, week off basis but this weekend is the last one in this alternating cycle. The final three league rounds are now set to be played off on successive Sundays, with the trip to Newbridge to face Kildare this day week followed by Galway’s arrival at McHale Park in a fortnight’s time and then the longer journey up to Omagh to face Tyrone the Sunday after that.
It’s not hugely clear as to what all the rush is in finishing the league fixtures with such alacrity and, seeing as we’re unlikely to feature in the business end of this year’s tournament, that match with Tyrone on the 13th of April is set to be followed by ten weeks of inactivity (well, for us supporters at least) before the Connacht semi-final against Sligo or London on the 22nd of June. I could, I know, launch into a rant at this juncture about GAA’s ludicrous approach to fixtures and, in particular, the ridiculous championship structure that exists but, hey, there’s already one in the back catalogue and I can’t be bothered rousing myself at this hour of the evening on Easter Sunday to pen another.
One consequence of this concentrated bout of league action is that it appears there will be a direct clash between the seniors and the U21s on the 6th of April. The seniors play Galway at McHale Park that afternoon and, according to the Cadbury U21 site (which I’m not sure I believe, as I’ve found that it’s not exactly the most reliable reference point), that’s also the date for the Connacht U21 final. If the dates do clash, then it’ll mean having to face the Herrin Chokers without the likes of Tom Cunniffe, Ger Cafferkey, Chris Barrett, Tom Parsons, Seamus O’Shea and Aidan Campbell in the panel. While this hardly constitutes a crisis, it would still be preferable to have these lads in the squad at McHale Park all the same.