Provisional fixtures for next year’s National League have been provided to counties, with details reported in the media today. Colm Keys in today’s Irish Independent has a piece on this (here), which fills in some of the detail on our forthcoming Division One campaign.
Having played all seven League matches away from home last year while the pitch redevelopment works at MacHale Park were being carried out, next year sees us back at home with a vengeance. Our spring campaign next year features four matches in Castlebar so it would obviously be a good time for us to get back into the habit of winning more regularly on home turf.
We open our 2023 League campaign with a tasty clash against our near neighbours Galway. That’s provisionally fixed for Saturday, 28th January, under the lights at MacHale Park and it’ll be a first competitive outing for us under the new management team led by Kevin McStay.
The following weekend we make the long trek to the Athletic Grounds to play Armagh (a short enough jaunt for me from here in the capital but a long haul for those of you based in the west), before we entertain All-Ireland champions Kerry back on home turf a fortnight after that.
The next weekend, 24th/25th February, we make the short hop to Dr Hyde Park to play Roscommon in Round 4, following which Tyrone roll into town the weekend after that for our Round 5 meeting.
We then head northwards, most likely to Ballybofey, two weeks after that to play Donegal. Our final match in the campaign – barring an appearance, as happened this year, in the Division One decider – is at home to Monaghan on the weekend of 25th/26th March.
Overall, it’s a decent run of games for us and you’d have to think we should at least be able to do enough to claim sufficient points to survive in Division One. You’d never know, we might do more than survive but, as this year showed, prospering in a Division One campaign brings its own set of problems.
The provisional fixtures are now with the counties who have until next week to come back with comments on them. On past experience, though, there’s likely to be little, if any, change to these provisional fixtures before they’re finalised.