The 2018 County Junior 1 Hurling Final will take place next Monday (29th October) even though the two finalists aren’t confirmed yet.
Micheal Breathnach will take on Ballinasloe tonight (Wednesday, 24th October) to decide who’ll take on Ballygar just five days later.
The reason for the rush is because the competition winners are scheduled to play the Connacht Final against Leitrim or Sligo opposition on Saturday, 3rd November, just another five days later.
While the Galway board deserve credit for getting their Junior competitions on target as Turloughmore and Sarsfields meet in the Junior A Final on Saturday (27th October), this tournament between junior clubs looks to have been pushed to the back and now teams face three matches in 10 days.
It will be a busy period for Micheal Breathnach who have their senior team playing the County Intermediate Final replay on Sunday in Pearse Stadium. That means any dual players could be expected to play on consecutive days should their hurlers beat Ballinasloe.
The west Galway team beat Menlo Emmets and Barna/Furbo in March before topping Group A four weeks ago when they accounted for Salthill/Knocknacarra 4-18 to 0-16.
In Ballinasloe’s case, they haven’t seen competitive action since Marach when they beat Skehana/Mountbellew-Moylough 3-11 to 1-13.
They aren’t completely faultless as they conceded to Ballygar on September 29th. But, according to Galway GAA’s official website, that was fixed just two days before their last group game with Tuam which the north Galway conceded.
Ballygar beat Tuam 3-19 to 1-17 in March before beating Skehana/Mountbellew-Moylough on October 14th. They defeated Barna/Furbo yesterday (Tuesday, 23rd October) 2-20 to 1-10 in the semi-final.
The fixturing for this competition has shown a complete lack of respect for the county’s junior clubs when the solution is very evident.
Why aren’t these games played on the same weekend as the senior and intermediate championships as they only involve clubs whose first teams are at Junior level? Therefore, this would probably have finished in September.
It might have delayed some of the completed Junior competitions by a couple of weeks but is it fair to be rushing through a tournament that could potentially open up a route to Croke Park for a Galway team?
Junior 1 Hurling Co Semi Final Ballinasloe V Ml. Breathnach in Loughgeorge Wednesday 24th at 7.30pm
— Ballinasloe GAA (@BallinasloeGAA) October 22, 2018
Junior 1 Hurling Championship Fixtures
Tuesday, 23rd October 2018
Ballygar 2-20 Skehana/Mountbellew-Moylough 1-10 (semi-final)
Wednesday, 24th October 2018
Ballinasloe vs Micheal Breathnach (semi-final – 7.30pm Loughgeorge)
Monday, 29th October 2018
Junior 1 Hurling Final
Ballygar vs Ballinasloe or Michael Breathnach (12pm – Venue TBC)
Saturday, 3rd November 2018
Connacht Junior Hurling Final (12pm Connacht GAA Centre, Bekan)