There, didn’t I say it? As soon as the GAA circulates provisional dates for the following year’s League fixtures they escape out into the public domain in short order. The source from which the leak emerged this year may have been a little unusual – the Irish Sun, full details here – but the fact that it happened represents no more than business as usual.
To be honest, as has already been noted in the comments, there’s nothing overly imaginative in how the 2018 League schedule has been set up. Home and away matches from last year have been flipped with fixtures against the two Division One newbies – Galway and Kildare – slotting into the places where this year the matches against Roscommon and Cavan took place.
So for us this means we start our 2018 NFL Division One campaign away to Monaghan (Sunday, 28th January), then we’re home against Kerry (Saturday, February 3rd), away to Galway (Sunday, 11th February), home against Dublin (Saturday, 24th February), away to Kildare (4th March), home against Tyrone (Saturday, 17th March) and away to Donegal (Sunday, 25th March).
This time around it’s three home matches (against the three other All-Ireland semi-finalists, all three matches to be played as Saturday night fixtures under the lights at MacHale Park) and four away ones. Two of those are against Ulster opponents (Monaghan and Donegal – both of whom, no doubt, we can expect plenty of he-man spring bullshit from before they tail off completely for the summer) and the other two against promoted Galway and Kildare.
With both the FBD and the NFL fixtures now published, a significant chunk of next year’s football calendar has been laid out for us. It’s definitely time, then, for Stephen Rochford and his backroom team to confirm where they stand for 2018. After all, not alone are we now ready to go again we know where we’re headed next spring as well.