Hurling and camogie

Camogie Association remains cautious over Covid as 2022 fixtures finalised

Down will compete in Division One of the National Camogie League this year while Antrim will be hoping for promotion from Division Two

THE Camogie Association yesterday issued their county boards with the Littlewoods National League fixtures that will begin on the first weekend of February and run through to finals on the weekend of the April 9/10.

With Covid still responsible for a lot of uncertainty in everyday life, the Association at this point has not allocated an exact date for games, but left flexibility that league games can take place on either a Saturday or Sunday.

Down, in the first season in Division One and under new management in Paul Donnelly and Mickey Glover, are grouped with All-Ireland champions Galway, Tipperary, Offaly and Dublin. The top team in the group will play in the league final while the bottom team will go into a relegation final.

Down will open their campaign with an away game in Tipperary on February 5/6 and three weeks later will have a home tie with Galway. There is a second home game on the weekend before St Patrick's Day when they play Offaly and they finish their group schedule with an away game in Dublin the following weekend.

Antrim, who lost the Division Two final last year to Down, remain in that Division and are grouped with Kerry, Galway reserves and Laois. There are three groups in Division Two with two teams progressing from each group to the knock-out stages. The bottom team in each group will face a relegation play-off.

Antrim begin with an away trip to Kerry whom they beat in the All-Ireland championship quarter-final in August, followed by a home game against Galway the team they beat on the way to both league and championship finals last year. The last game is an away tie with Laois on the weekend before St Patrick's Day.

The new management under Elaine Dowds will target the knockout stages that run on consecutive weekends from March 26/27 through to the weekend before Easter.

Derry are also in Division Two and under new management in Martin Coulter. They are in a group of five teams with Wexford, Meath, Kildare and Cork reserves. It is a difficult group and Coulter will target an away win in the opening game in Meath before two home games against Wexford and Kildare. Their fate is likely to be decided in their final game, an away trip to Cork the weekend before St Patrick's Day.

There are four Ulster teams in Division Three which is split into two groups with the top two in each progressing to the semi-finals the first weekend in April.

Down's reserve team will face other reserve teams from Wexford, Limerick, Laois and Clare. Meanwhile Antrim's reserves are up against Armagh, Cavan, Carlow, Roscommon and Dublin reserves.

The Tesco Minor championships will run during the months of February and March with the finals at all level completed on the last weekend of March.

Last season's B winners, Antrim are in the top division in a group with Tipperary, Limerick and Wexford with the top two qualifying for the knock-out stages.

Derry are in the Minor B championship and grouped with Meath and Laois. The top two here will also progress to the knockout stages. Down and Armagh will participate in the Minor B Shield while Tyrone, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan will contest Minor C championship with Mayo, Louth and Wicklow.

The provincial councils will get the five weeks after the League finishes to run off their championships before the first round of the All-Ireland championships take place on the weekend May 21/22.

The draws for the All-Ireland adult championships will take place on the weekend of the league semi-finals.

The All-Ireland championships at all levels from under 16 to senior will be completed by the first weekend of August, allowing club championships to be played within counties through to the end of October.

The provincial club championships will start in late October with the All-Ireland series completed within the calendar year over the two weekends before Christmas. If any of the All-Ireland club championships go to a replay, these will take place the first weekend of 2023.

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Hurling and camogie