06 Oct 2022

THE MAN BEHIND THE WIRE: Some disquiet at crucial Offaly GAA club fixtures clash with Tullamore Show

THE MAN BEHIND THE WIRE: Some disquiet at crucial Offaly GAA club fixtures clash with Tullamore Show

THE MAN BEHIND THE WIRE: Some disquiet at crucial Offaly GAA club fixtures clash with Tullamore Show

THERE has been disappointment in some Offaly GAA Clubs at a clash of fixtures on Sunday with the Tullamore Agricultural Show.

The Show is back after a two year Covid enforced break and it is one of the biggest events in Offaly, expected to attract in the region of 60,000 people.

It is Ireland's biggest one day show with people attending from all over the country and it takes place on an extensive site near the Blueball.

Offaly GAA, however, have fixed a busy schedule of games for Sunday. Four Intermediate Football Championship games will take place at 12 noon while there are four Senior Football Championship games at 4.00pm

There are also U-13 and junior “B” and “C” football games down for decision.

The fixing of the games has annoyed several clubs. Apart from players, supporters and members wishing to attend the show, a number of clubs provide car parking stewards for the event and it is placing considerable pressure on them – clubs are either pulling out or asking members to miss their own championship games for doing it.

Providing car parking is a financially rewarding venture for clubs. They are paid €1,000 for 10 stewards and it is an important part of the back up support and logistics that helps the event run so smoothly.

The show takes place in the Kilcormac-Killoughey and Shamrocks GAA Clubs area and they would be among the clubs that provide stewards but there are many others.

Kilcormac-Killoughey are not playing on Sunday but Shamrocks have a big senior football game against Ferbane in Tubber at 4pm. For example, Raheen GAA Club have committed to stewarding and they play Tullamore in the Intermediate Football Championship at 12 noon in Rhode.

It is one of the biggest weekends of the year for the Offaly football championships. The final round of group games are taking place in Senior, Senior “B”, Intermediate and Junior and they will determine who makes the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

While playing your best games on a Sunday is good policy and Sunday is the day of choice for most clubs for championships, it is a pity that a clash with the show couldn't be avoided – in fairness, the fixtures won't stop supporters from attending the show. The show grounds open at 8am and there is ample time for people to attend early if they are going to the 4pm fixtures or later if it is the 12 noon ones.

However, it does have a big impact on clubs providing stewards and they are not impressed with the clash or the fact that their requests for a free day on Sunday were not granted. The Competitions Control Committee are caught in that they can't split fixtures in the final round of group games in a championship – with knockout pairings being determined, all games in the respective championships must take place at the same time at different venues.

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