The All-Ireland senior and intermediate camogie club finals will not take place at Croke Park, as was initially planned. Players from the clubs involved (Athenry and Johnstownbridge in the intermediate final; Sarsfields and Slaughtneil in the senior) have expressed dismay that they have been denied a day out in Croke Park, with the finals instead being played in Clones on Saturday, March 24th.
The finals were initially due to take place at Croke Park on the first weekend of March, but fell foul to the Beast from the East. They were rescheduled for last Sunday, March 18th again at Croke Park, but another snowfall led to their cancellation.
The Camogie Association told Balls that they were eager to play the finals as soon as possible, and settled on St. Tiernech's Park, Clones as the optimum available venue having been informed that Croke Park was unavailable.
Some players expressed surprise at Croke Park's unavailability, given that the only games at Croke Park this weekend are both on Sunday: the league quarter-final between Dublin and Tipperary and the National Football League clash between Dublin and Monaghan.
It had been hoped by some players involved in the finals that the finals could go ahead as a triple-header involving the All-Ireland senior club championship hurling final replay between Cuala and Na Piarsaigh, but that game has been fixed for O'Moore Park, Portlaoise.
The GAA have told Balls, however, that Croke Park's unavailability is due to their desire to protect the quality of the pitch following a lot of recent wear and tear, which has been exacerbated by an unprecedented level of snow in the last three weeks. The GAA say that hosting an additional three games this weekend along with the double-header on Sunday would have put too big a strain on the pitch, given the volume of league finals and Go Games slated for April, and overuse of the pitch at this time of the year may lead to it being damaged for the rest of the year.