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21st Jun 2017

The Pope’s visit to Ireland next year could impact the All-Ireland football final

Is there anything to be said for another mass?

Conor Heneghan

Well Holy God.

The date of the 2018 All-Ireland football final could be pushed back due to the likely visit to Ireland by Pope Francis next year.

According to the Irish Independent, the provisional date for the 2018 decider, Sunday, 26 August, could clash with a mass to round off the World Meeting of Families, a six-day event which is being hosted in Dublin next year.

The schedule of events for the World Meeting of Families has yet to be finalised, but it is believed that Croke Park would be the preferred venue for a mass on the final day of the event and that the GAA is open to accommodating it.

Pope Francis informed Enda Kenny of his intention to visit Ireland when the former Taoiseach visited him in Rome last November; a formal invitation to Pope Francis to attend the World Meeting of Families had been extended by the Conference of Irish Catholic Bishops.

If he does come, it will be the first Papal visit to Ireland since Pope John Paul II’s famous visit in 1979.

Earlier this year, a motion to stage the All-Ireland football and hurling finals in August was passed into rule in an effort to create more space in the calendar for club teams throughout the country.

The Irish Independent reports that, in the event of a Papal mass taking place in Croke Park in 2018, Central Council delegates agreed in principle at the weekend to push back the date of the All-Ireland football final to Sunday, 2 September.

If it does happen, it wouldn’t be the first time the date of an All-Ireland final has been changed; in 2006, the All-Ireland finals were brought forward by a week to avoid a clash with the final day of the Ryder Cup, which took place in the K Club in Kildare that year.

This is the first time, however, that it would be moved for a mass.

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