By Damian Dolan
Fulham Irish manager Greg McCartan shook off the disappointment of his side’s All Ireland Club SFC quarter-final clash with Corofin falling victim to the weather, and vowed that his charges will be ready for the rescheduled game in January.
Heavy fall in west London on Sunday morning left McGovern Park, Ruislip, covered by a blanket of snow and the pitch unplayable, while surroundings roads were also badly affected and would have made travelling difficult for spectators.
The Croke Park website stated on Sunday that ‘the CCCC will confirm refixture details during the week’.
“It’s very disappointing; we’ve been building towards this game for eight weeks since we played the final, trying to keep players interested,” said McCartan. “You do all the hard training and you do all the team tactics
“But it’s the same for Corofin, and I’m sure they would have had a lot of expense to come over here. It’s devastating for any fans who came over. It’s very disappointing for everyone.
“We’ve just got to reset our targets and get on with it. Whenever the match is we’ll have the players ready. Even if it was Christmas Day we’d have them ready.”
The postponement will, however, cause McCartan a selection headache with forwards Rowan Turley and Sean O’Sullivan both due to emigrate to Australia at the beginning of the New Year. Daniel Eastwood, who came off the bench and scored two points in the county final, has already headed Down Under.
In contrast, Corofin will be able to call upon All-Star hurling full back Daithí Burke, who missed the London snow having travelled to Singapore on the All-Star trip.
“London is fluid and players are moving all the time. It’s not ideal, but what can you do?” said McCartan, who expects they’ll now give the players two weeks off before they reconvene to prepare, for a second time, for the “biggest game of our lives”.
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The game is likely to be re-arranged for mid to late January, however London’s hurlers and footballers kick off their National League campaigns on the last weekend of January in Ruislip.
McCartan and his team will hastily begin planning for the return visit to London of the Connacht and Galway champions. A challenge match would certainly be desirable.
“You’re looking at maybe 13 weeks between the county final and our next game. It’s really not ideal,” he said.
“We’ll have to come up with a plan as a management and a committee, and we’ll meet with the players, but the players are the best bunch of lads I’ve worked with so they’ll be no issue with them.”
Last Thursday night’s training session was the 87th time the players met up this year, with Sunday’s game would have been the 88th. McCartan says they were definitely ready for the challenge of Corofin.
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“We were really focused. For us it was a chance of a life-time, and some players are going to lose that because they’re going away.
“We met up for the first time on 22 January in Earl’s Court to discuss the season going forward, and now a year later we’re still going to be playing football.
“It’s not a bad problem to have, that we’re still going, it’s just not ideal. But Corofin are in the same boat.”
The postponement will also have a knock-on effect on the plans of London manager Ciaran Deely, to bring in any Fulham Irish players into his county panel for the National League.