The Cork and Clare GAA County Boards are reported to be making representations to Croke Park about the timing of the All Ireland Hurling Final Replay which was fixed yesterday for 5pm on Saturday, September 28th.
The time of the throw in is 90 minutes later than was the case on Sunday and is causing anxiety for fans who would be driving or travelling home later, as well as players for whom it is an awkward and unusual time to play.
The time was decided on the advice of an Garda Siochána who will have full visibility of what other events are scheduled for around Dublin or along main travel routes during the day and will not have been done on a whim.
The Dublin Theatre Festival is on that weekend and it is also two days after Arthur’s Day, the Guinness promotional event which will spill over into a number of concerts and events.
It is also two weeks before the budget announcement for 2014 and this would traditionally be a time when protests and marches may be planned for the city by a number of different civil and political groups.
Extra time will be played if the teams are still inseparable after 70 minutes and that would bring the end of the game very close to sunset which will be shortly after 7pm on the 28th. That would mean, in the event of an overcast day that the floodlights will be switched on either before the game or at a point before its conclusion.
Given the amount of comment from both camps about decisions that may have altered the course of Sunday’s game it is likely this will also become a factor.
It is a difficult task for any governing body to arrange a major event for 80,000 people at only three weeks notice and there are many factors to be considered.
It was the right choice this year to leave the All Ireland Ladies Football Final on the Sunday and even though there is some merit in hosting the two finals together, there are other games on the `sunday that would then be left aside and that would be wrong.
Saturday is the best day and perhaps some work can be done with Gardaí to bring the time forward.
It is a shame that the gesture to reduce ticket prices, and introduce children’s tickets for the final has been overwhelmed by criticism of the arrangements that are largely outside the control of the GAA but doubtless the players will pay little heed to the extraneous noise as they prepare to give us another great example of the sport at the highest level.