THE SPORTING DIARY: Fingers are crossed that games will go ahead as planned

THE SPORTING DIARY: Fingers are crossed that games will go ahead as planned

There might not be the same level of interest but it will be good to have GAA intercounty games back up and running this weekend.
In normal times a Donegal-Tyrone game would set the pulses running but sport is taking a back seat in the difficult times that we are now living in.
Hopefully, the games can go ahead without any Covid hiccups, but that is in the lap of the Gods. We can already see with what is happening in Fermanagh that it might not be all plain sailing. Just this week we are hearing about difficulties in Galway with players from Moycullen testing positive and having to self-isolate from the panel. But it is also important that we keep going.
With every county due to play this weekend in the resumption of the Allianz National League, sport can become a distraction to all the bad news.
Big efforts are being made to have most games streamed so supporters can watch them in the comfort of their homes.
Thank goodness for television and radio at this time. And if you get a good game of Gaelic football, it can match anything that all the international sport can muster.
Last Sunday afternoon, by accident, I tuned into TG4 and they were replaying the 2018 Ulster club final between Gaoth Dobhair and Scotstown. And what a game it was; it had everything, point for point, a dramatic finish where Gaoth Dobhair thought they had won with the last attack only for a free out to be given (and it was probably a very good refereeing decision).
We had the spectacle of Kevin Cassidy protecting the referee from his teammates and management with a hug, and then in extra-time Gaoth Dobhair prevailed to win a first Ulster club title.
It was classic television.
Donegal's game against Tyrone on Sunday is live on TG4 at 4 pm and it will be preceded by the Galway-Mayo game in Tuam. Will Jim McGuinness be back in Tuam this weekend? It just shows how box office McGuinness is that his appearance at a training session with the Galway team last Sunday created a media buzz.

Casement Park Planning
The long-running saga of the re-development of Casement Park took a turn for the better this week with ministerial approval for the planning application to begin work on the Belfast venue.
It is the first green light for the development for some time. The project has been in the melting pot for more than 10 years and there have been many changes in that time.
How long more will it take before we see an Ulster final staged there? That is a good question and the development has divided opinion here in Donegal. There would be widespread support for the project in the northern counties, but there are mixed views among Donegal supporters about travelling to Belfast. Concerns raised included parking with a Park and Ride system being mooted.
Supporters don't like change. They are happy with the Ulster finals being played in Clones, which is very central. But change is inevitable and the Casement Park project will be pursued by the Ulster Council of the GAA.
Getting planning approval, however, is just one set of traffic lights turned green. Securing funding for the project will now be an equally tough assignment, especially with the arrival of Covid-19 and the Brexit scenario. The new stadium was due to be part of an IRFU bid to host the Rugby World Cup but that didn't materialise. Maybe it might be included in a future bid, which would be a boost in relation to securing funding.

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