GAA facing clash with World Cup final
THE GAA is facing an unavoidable clash between two of its flagship All-Ireland football quarter-finals and next year's FIFA World Cup final.
The showpiece in Russia, the 2014 equivalent of which attracted 3.2billion television viewers, takes place at 4pm Irish time on July 15, and would inevitably be fighting for a share of the GAA's traditional Sunday afternoon audience.
The first of the All-Ireland football championship round-robin quarter-final games will take place across the weekend of July 14/15, as will the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals.
A clash seems inevitable given that the two a hurling quarter-final double-header is down for July 15, and with four football quarter-finals to split over two days, there seems to be no way of avoiding a clash with events in Moscow.
The four football quarter-final games will all be held in Croke Park that weekend and while the novelty factor and potential headline clashes will work in the GAA's favour, the near certainty of an overlap could harm the attendances at the flagship games in Dublin.
The lack of free weekends in a newly condensed GAA calendar means that avoiding the day of the World Cup final is virtually impossible.
No decision will be made on the throw-in times of those games until the new year.
It's unlikely that the GAA will give too much thought to avoiding the rest of the World Cup fixtures though, given that neither the Republic or Northern Ireland have qualified.
England are the only ‘home' nation that will be in action but the only potential clash with one of their knockout games would be with round four of the football qualifiers on Saturday 7 July.
Their most likely opponent would be Germany in a 3pm kick-off, but given their tournament history, it's unlikely that Croke Park officials will be placing too much faith in that fixture ever materialising.