Ahead of this weekend’s All-Ireland hurling semi-finals, two villages have been granted a special dispensation to change mass times to avoid a clash with the match.
With throw-in planned for 6pm this Saturday, evening services in Athea and Templeglantine in west Limerick will begin an hour ahead of schedule to give massgoers plenty of time to see their team take on Kilkenny.
“When Limerick qualified for the semi-final, we were all expecting the match to take place on the Sunday so when it was announced for the Saturday evening, clashing with our 6pm Mass, we had a bit of discussion about it,” said Fr Tony Mullins, one of a number of priests operating in four parishes in west Limerick.
“We felt there might be a lot of people who might want to watch the match. It’s a very significant game and hurling in Limerick at the moment is hugely popular, so we felt like it would be wise to consider it.”
Fr Mullins and his colleagues consulted the Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, who advised them that “there was no problem” in arranging to reschedule the Masses to accommodate the match.
“It’s hard not to be a fan of the hurling at the moment,” said Fr Mullins.
“It’s been a fantastic year in Limerick after the All-Ireland, even for those who are not avid GAA fans.
“There was a huge sense of pride and the county’s spirits were lifted.
“And of course, we are all praying for success on Saturday.”
Limerick senior hurlers will take on Kilkenny this Saturday at Croke Park, with Wexford set to take on Tipperary on Sunday.