Slaughtneil praise CCCC decision to split All-Ireland semi-finals
SLAUGHTNEIL manager Michael McShane has praised the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee after they moved the club’s All-Ireland hurling semi-final to accommodate their dual players.
Following their provincial successes over the last two months, the south Derry club are in the unprecedented and privileged position of preparing for All-Ireland semi-finals in hurling, football and camogie.
The hurlers and footballers have an overlap of 17 players between the two squads, and were facing the prospect of having their two games within seven days of each other.
But after discussions with the clubs involved, the hurling clash with Dublin and Leinster champions Cuala has been put back three weeks from its original date.
Its move to Saturday 25 February creates a gap of two weeks between the games, with the footballers taking on St Vincent’s on February 11 as planned.
Slaughtneil had originally sought to have the football semi-final put back a week but it’s understood that St Vincent’s were unable to agree to that request owing to a wedding.
Cuala, however, are believed to have accommodated the move of their game, which will now be played one day short of 12 weeks after the south Dublin outfit claimed their first ever provincial title against O’Loughlin Gaels.
Slaughtneil will also have been delighted that both their games will take place in Ulster.
The hurling semi-final takes place in Armagh Athletic Grounds, which has become a home-from-home from the Derry club. Their two Ulster football titles and the sole provincial hurling crown have all been won at the venue.
Their footballers will be in Newry two weeks earlier, the same venue where St Vincent’s overcame then-Derry and Ulster champions Ballinderry in the 2013/14 All-Ireland semi-final.
“The primary objective for us was that the dual players were given a minimum of two weeks between the two games, whatever way that had to happen,” said Emmet’s hurling boss McShane.
“I think that was only fair to the lads that they got that. It was never going to work having the two games within seven days of each other, there had to be some kind of change.
“We have to be happy now. It gives us a couple of weeks. It gives the football management a couple of weeks clear to focus on their game and then ourselves to focus on the hurling.
“It’s still going to be a difficult situation, trying to prepare two teams for two massively important games. The advantage for Cuala and St Vincent’s is that they have a single focus, but that’s the position we’re in.
“I’d have to congratulate the CCCC on coming up with a sensible decision and I suppose the fact that the game’s in Armagh, it’s a fair venue. Dublin to Armagh’s not that far, it’s about an hour and a half, and it’s about an hour and 15 minutes for ourselves.”
The Club Players’ Association also gave the decision their backing, tweeting: “Good to see the CCCC have given @GACSlaughtneil players a reasonable recovery period between their two semi finals #PlayersFirst”.
Elsewhere, Pomeroy and the Rock will also both line-up in the Athletic Grounds for a double-header of their intermediate and junior football semi-finals.
Pomeroy will face Meath’s St Colmcille’s in the main event on January 29, with Rock taking on Scottish visitors Dunedin Connolly’s first.
Antrim intermediate hurling champions Cloughmills will be first out when they take on London champions Robert Emmet’s in Greenford on January 14.
The winners of that game will play Kilkenny outfit Carrickshock in the semi-final on January 29.
Antrim and Ulster junior kings Lamh Dhearg will take on Kilkenny’s Mooncoin, also on the 29th, at St. Loman’s Park in Trim.
All-Ireland series fixtures
AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship semi-finals
Saturday 11 February
Slaughtneil (Derry) v St Vincent’s (Dublin): Páirc Esler, time TBC (TG4)
Corofin (Galway) v Dr Crokes (Kerry): Gaelic Grounds, time TBC
AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Club Football Championship semi-finals
Sunday 29 January
Westport (Mayo) v Kenmare Shamrocks (Kerry): Ennis, 2.15pm
St. Colmcille’s (Meath) v Pomeroy Plunketts (Tyrone): Athletic Grounds, 2.15pm
AIB All-Ireland Junior Club Football Championship semi-finals
Sunday 29 January
Louisburgh (Mayo) v Glenbeigh-Glencar (Kerry): Ennis, 12.30pm
Dunedin Connolly's (Scotland) v Rock St Patrick's (Tyrone): Athletic Grounds, 12.30pm
AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship semi-finals
Saturday 4 February
St Thomas (Galway) v Ballyea (Clare): Semple Stadium, time TBC (TG4)
Saturday 25 February
Cuala (Dublin) v Slaughtneil (Derry): Athletic Grounds, time TBC (TG4)
AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Club Hurling Championship quarter-final
Saturday 14 January
Robert Emmets (London) v St Bridgid's Cloughmills (Antrim): Greenford, London, 1pm
AIB All-Ireland Intermediate Club Hurling Championship semi-finals
Sunday January 29
Ath Eascrach/Fothaine (Galway) v Lismore (Waterford): Tullamore, 2.15pm
Carrickshock (Kilkenny) v Robert Emmets / Cloughmills (Antrim): TBC
AIB All-Ireland Junior Club Hurling Championship semi-finals
Calry/St Joseph's (Sligo) v Mayfield (Cork): Tullamore, 12.30pm
Mooncoin (Kilkenny) v Lamh Dhearg (Antrim): Trim, TBC