Opinion: London GAA fixture issues

London gaa

The pressure is on. We are into the semi-final stages of both the hurling and football senior championships in London.

It is all gearing up for what could be the ultimate celebration of grass roots Gaelic Games in the city. The County board must complete all county fixtures by September 15 – the day construction is due to begin on the new stadium, provided planning permission is signed off of course – so it has decided to stage all of London’s championship matches on the weekend of August 30/31.

On Saturday the county intermediate and senior hurling titles will be decided. The following day fans will be treated to a triple bill as the junior, intermediate and senior football championships are up for grabs. It is also the same weekend as the All Ireland football semi-finals and a replay could be staged on the Saturday if the previous weekend’s semi-final is left undecided.

It has the makings of a great weekend. But it could be even better.

The London county board need to pay attention to the timings of the televised games and ensure that the live games scheduled for that day are sufficiently delayed to allow fans see the best of London and the best of Ireland on the same day.

Otherwise the fans will stay at home to go to their local pub to watch the bigger encounters and this will be doing the entire London GAA scene a disservice. Even those that do turn will send more time in the clubhouse than on the sideline and that is just not fair on our local clubs either.

The County Board could go further, how about a two-ticket at a reduced rate for those who want to go both games, maybe a marquee and some live music, like we have during the inter-county games, just to add to the atmosphere and give fans an even greater excuse to get out to the home of GAA in London.

It would be a fitting end to the grounds that has served the Irish community so well over the last 30 odd years – lets go out with a bang – not a whimper.

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