That least loved child in the annual GAA calendar – the football and hurling interprovincials – gets paraded out this coming weekend. The interpros have been passed from Billy to Jack in the calendar over the years and have now found a new home this year at a time when many people are allocating free hours at the weekend to putting up their Christmas decorations.
The football variant takes place over the weekend up in Down and Armagh with the semi-finals being run off on Saturday while the final is scheduled to be held the following day. The semi-final line-up on Saturday sees Connacht face Ulster in the Athletic Grounds in Armagh (throw-in 7pm) while Leinster face Munster at Páirc Esler in Newry (throw-in 4pm). The final takes place at the Athletic Grounds at 2.30pm on Sunday.
Connacht ended a 45-year drought in this competition in the spring of last year when Aidan O’Shea captained the westerners to an emphatic win over Ulster in the final. The Connacht team that day featured six of our lads. Only four Mayo players – Chris Barrett, who captains the province, Neil Douglas, Jason Doherty and Conor O’Shea – are included in this year’s squad, mainly because so many of the lads are unavailable, as this article in Hogan Stand confirms.
As well as our quartet, the Connacht squad this year comprises nine Galway players, seven from Roscommon, three from Sligo and one from Leitrim. Full details are here. The province will once again be managed by Galway’s John Tobin, assisted by Ja Fallon and Martin Carney. Best of luck to them and to the lads this weekend.
UPDATE: As you’ve probably heard by now, the adverse weather has forced the cancellation of these fixtures.