SUMMER officially begins on May 17 with the first live championship game of the season broadcast by RTÉ.
Fermanagh and Down kick off the campaign which includes the Munster SHC and Ulster SFC deciders along with the All-Ireland quarters, semis and finals in both codes.
Other glamour fixtures include the Ulster SFC meeting of All-Ireland champions Tyrone and Armagh (May 31); Denis Walsh’s first Munster SHC game in charge of Cork against Tipperary (May 31); new Limerick boss Justin McCarthy facing his former charges Waterford (June 14), along with the Leinster derby, Meath v Dublin, on June 7.
The Sunday Game highlights programme will make a return with new presenter Des Cahill at the helm on May 17.
However, TV3 have nabbed a number of glamour clashes, including the Munster SFC semi-final between Kerry and the winners of Cork v Waterford and the provincial football final. The Munster SHC semi-final between Clare and the winners of Tipperary and Cork will also be shown by the Ballymount-based outfit.
Meanwhile, Brian Cody has ruled out any late recalls to his squad ahead of Sunday’s NHL final with Tipperary.
He said: “Our injury situation hasn’t changed too much really. Noel Hickey was out the whole league but came through a club match last weekend. But he is a long way away from inter-county hurling. Derek Lyng likewise sat out the league and is recovering from a hip operation; he is making good progress but hasn’t played any match anywhere yet. ‘Cha’ was out for a long, long time with sickness. He came on against Dublin and played a club match at the weekend, so he’s working his way back.
“Richie Power picked up a hamstring injury a few weeks ago and is definitely going to be out for a few more weeks. John Dalton had been out for the last while with sickness but he’s worked his way back and played a club match at the weekend. We still are a little bit short.”
Injury-plagued Barry Owens has been told it will be a ‘miracle’ if he plays for Fermanagh against Down in their May 17 Ulster SFC tie. Twice an All Star, Owens is still recovering from knee surgery following a cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered in last year’s Ulster final replay loss to Armagh. That was just his third game back with Fermanagh, having previously battled back from a life saving heart operation at the beginning of 2008.
“Barry has had an awful time,” said Fermanagh manager Malachy O’Rourke. “He is still with the medical people and doing the rehab work so to be honest it will be a miracle if he figures against Down.”
Donegal’s championship hopes have been boosted with the news that 2006 All Star Karl Lacey will be available for the championship opener with Antrim on June 14. Lacey is due to return from his travels in late May and will be available for selection by the time Donegal get their championship underway. The Four Masters clubman, who has been out of the country since last November, has not played for Donegal since their loss at the hands of Monaghan in the All-Ireland qualifiers last July.
Galway hurlers could be set for a massive blow with attacker Iarla Tannian possibly being ruled out for the season.
The 25-year old, a forward who has been ever-present for the Tribesmen in the championship for the past two years, suffered a serious knee injury in a club game. The Ardrahan clubman is due to undergo a scan today but it is feared he has suffered a serious medial ligament tear.
RTE Championship schedule
May 17: Ulster SFC: Fermanagh v Down, 3.30pm.
May 24: Ulster SFC: Derry v Monaghan, 2pm; Leinster SFC: Kildare v Offaly, 4pm
May 30: Leinster SHC: Offaly v Wexford, 7pm
May 31: Ulster SFC: Tyrone v Armagh, 2pm; Munster SHC: Tipperary v Cork, 4pm
June 6: Ulster SFC: Cavan v Fermanagh/Down, 7pm
June 7: Leinster SFC: Meath v Dublin, 4pm
June 13: Leinster SFC: Kildare/Offaly v Wexford, 7pm
June 14: Leinster SFC: Longford/Wicklow v Westmeath, 2pm; Munster SHC: Limerick v Waterford, 4pm
June 20: Connacht SFC: New York/Mayo v Leitrim/Roscommon, 5pm; Leinster SHC semi-final, 7pm
June 21: Ulster SFC: Tyrone/Armagh v Derry/Monaghan, 2pm
June 27: Ulster SFC: Donegal/Antrim v Cavan/Fermanagh/Down, 7pm
June 28: Connacht SFC: Sligo v London/Galway, 2pm
July 4: All-Ireland Qualifiers
July 11: All-Ireland Qualifiers
July 12: Munster SHC final, 4pm
July 18: All-Ireland Qualifiers
July 19: Ulster SFC final, 2pm
July 25/26: All-Ireland Qualifiers; All Ireland SHC quarter-finals
August 1/2/3: All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals
August 9: All-Ireland SHC and MHC semi-finals
August 16: All-Ireland SHC and MHC semi-finals
August 23: All-Ireland SFC and MFC semi-finals
August 30: All-Ireland SFC and MFC semi-finals
September 6: All-Ireland SHC and MHC finals
September 20: All-Ireland SFC and MFC finals
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