No lights at McHale Park for NFL opener?

McHale Park floodlightsThere appears to be some doubt as to whether or not our opening NFL match, against Galway at McHale Park, will now go ahead on Saturday evening, February 6th and that instead the game could be shifted back to the following afternoon.  The Mayo News had this story yesterday and this morning’s Indo (which now seems to be using the Westport organ as its main source for football news stories within the county) has now picked up on it.

The issues regarding planning permission for the McHale Park redevelopment have been well documented at this stage and so there’s no point in my rehashing them all over again.  If the use of the lights on February 6th is now mired in a planning-related appeals process (which, on the face of it, would appear to be the case), then the most sensible thing would obviously be abandon plans to play the match under lights and instead move the game to the Sunday afternoon.

The downside from doing so would be that the match would most likely no longer be televised (this happened to us last year when our game with Donegal got shifted from an evening to an afternoon throw-in).  I have to declare a personal interest at this juncture because the upside from my perspective is that a switch from the Saturday evening to the Sunday afternoon will mean I’ll definitely be able to get to Castlebar for the game, which won’t be the case if it goes ahead on the Saturday.  This is because I have a prior commitment up here that afternoon involving myself and the small fella.

As well as being a committed Dub (I did try to convert him but to little avail), young BJ is also a rugby nut (in his book, Ireland’s rugby team  = winning) and so I decided to look for tickets for the Six Nations match against Italy at Croke Park, on the basis that (a) it’s a match we’re likely to win and (b) it’s the last year that rugby will be played at GAA HQ so it’s likely to be his only chance to see his heroes perform on the sacred turf.  It was only afterwards that I realised the clash of dates but was resigned to watching the NFL opener live on Setanta after tramping back from Croke Park that evening.  It would appear, however, that the McHale Road rezzies may well have sorted this small bi-location problem for me though we’ll have to wait for definitive confirmation as to when the match will be played.

While I have you, the Mayo News also has a few other pieces of interest that are worth mentioning. This report from Mike Finnerty on the FBD panel (which I guess was also the source for yesterday’s Indo article) fills in a bit more detail on who is and who isn’t available for FBD duty and it also says where the lads who will be lining out for the third-level institutes are likely to pop up.  This preview of the NUIG game, meanwhile, wins the annual award for the first student-related headline of the year.  By the way, as Mayo Mick kindly informed us yesterday, Sunday’s opener against NUIG is due to be played in Garrymore (throw-in 2 pm – so says Midwest) though the ongoing inclement weather will have a large say on whether or not this fixture goes ahead.

On that front, it’s now snowing in a fairly serious way up here again, with 5 cm (that’s 2 inches, give or take, in old money) of the stuff forecast to fall in these parts before the day is out.  Time to draw in a few more bags of logs, I reckon, and settle in for the long haul.

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