Croke Park will host a Leinster club finals double-header on December 2nd – unless Naas reach both deciders, which would see the football showdown pushed out a week.
Naas are on course to qualify for both the provincial club senior football and hurling finals in the same year for the first time in their history.
The club’s footballers booked their final place following an extra-time victory over St Loman’s of Mullingar last Sunday. They will now face reigning Leinster and All-Ireland champions Kilmacud Crokes in the Leinster football decider, which has been provisionally fixed for Saturday, December 2nd.
However, that fixture proceeding depends on the outcome of Saturday’s Leinster club hurling semi-final between Naas and Na Fianna in Portlaoise. Should Naas make history and advance to the provincial hurling final, then it will lead to a reshuffle because of the three dual players involved with the Kildare outfit – Brian Byrne, James Burke and Daire Guerin.
Byrne is the captain of the hurling team and is a key defensive cog for the footballers – he played all of Sunday’s extra-time win over St Loman’s. Burke also played the entire game last weekend, lining out at midfield in the victory.
Irrespective of the outcome of next Saturday’s encounter, the Leinster club hurling final will still go ahead on December 2nd but a Naas victory over Na Fianna would see the football decider delayed until the weekend of December 9th.
The reason behind the provincial hurling decider taking precedence is to allow the eventual winners adequate time to prepare for an All-Ireland club semi-final, which is scheduled to take place on the weekend of December 16th-17th. The All-Ireland club football semi-finals are not due to take place until early January.
However, should Na Fianna overcome Naas to qualify for their first ever Leinster club senior hurling final then there will be a Croke Park double-header on the first weekend of December; Kilmacud Crokes v Naas in the football, Na Fianna v O’Loughlin Gaels or Kilcormac-Killoughey in the hurling.
The 2022 Leinster club finals were played as a double-header at Croke Park, with Kilmacud Crokes involved in both. Brian Sheehy was the only dual player involved 12 months ago and, after an appeal by the Stillorgan club, Leinster officials switched the order of the matches to try facilitate hi in togging out in both games.
It wasn’t an ideal scenario but it was at least a workable compromise as Sheehy was a key player for the Kilmacud hurlers and mostly used off the bench as an impact sub by the footballers. Ultimately, he did not feature for the footballers on the day.
The Naas footballers have had their season ended by Kilmacud Crokes in the last two years – in a Leinster final in 2021 and a quarter-final last November.