Jul 25, 2019

Limerick bishop give his blessing to ‘altar’ Mass times for big match

EVERYBODY in County Limerick will be praying at 6pm on Saturday - but it won't be in church.

Due to the ‘mass’ appeal of the Limerick v Kilkenny game practically every parish in the county has changed the time of a service if it clashes with the All-Ireland semi-final.

Massgoers in Patrickswell ahead of the big weekend | Picture: Michael Cowhey

Bishop Brendan Leahy emailed all the priests in the Limerick diocese with a special dispensation. Some county parishes in the Cashel & Emly archdiocese are also moving Mass times to accommodate Limerick GAA fans.

Fr Michael Cussen, parish priest of Patrickswell and Ballybrown, said the bishop gave them permission to make local arrangements,

“Obviously you can’t be changing it every second week because people would get mixed up. There are two things about Saturday night – firstly, I couldn’t imagine too many being at Mass and, secondly, I couldn’t imagine anyone saying the Mass either, which is a far bigger problem!” smiled Fr Cussen, who is hoping to be in Croke Park on Saturday.

And if somebody does come to church thinking Mass is on, the Foynes man says they can say a prayer for Limerick!

Fr Cussen said Mass in Patrickswell is normally 6.30pm. It has been brought back to 4.30pm. While Ballybrown has moved from 8pm to 8.30pm “in case of extra-time”.

“I think it’s good that the official church recognises the importance of it. There is no need to have Mass on during the match. As well as our three seniors – Diarmaid Byrnes, Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane – we have a good few on the minor team as well. You have Gary Kirby’s sons Patrick and John, and Aidan O'Connor, Luke O’Connor, Colin Coughlan and Ned Quinn from Ballybrown,” said Fr Cussen.

He says parishioner and Limerick legend Richie Bennis is very hopeful of a Limerick win.

“It’s great to be there. It is fantastic they are back again in Croke Park after last year. We’re very hopeful,” said Fr Cussen.

Fr Joe Tynan, parish priest of Kilteely-Dromkeen, is a proud Tipperary man but he agrees with changing the times for the Limerick and Kilkenny match.

“Most parishes have put times forward or back. The parish is synonymous with the GAA and we work well together. Especially at club level, representing the parish is where the pride comes from and the county is then made up of those same parishes,” said Fr Tynan, who is the director of communications for Cashel and Emly archdiocese. Mass in Kilteely will be at 7.30pm.

Ballyhahill has catered for everyone as Mass will be on at the usual time of 6pm as well as at 5pm for those who want to be back home to watch the match. Please see county notes in L2 to check times in your area.

As of this Wednesday, more than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the game in Croker. Despite initial slow sales, these have picked up as the Saturday night 6pm throw-in nears. Temperatures in the capital will be as high as 20 degrees, with sunny weather forecast. It's anticipated there will be up to 60,000 people in attendance at Croker on Saturday night, with Limerick's minor hurlers also facing Kilkenny, with a 4pm throw-in.

Last year, the Treatymen needed extra-time to get past Cork. A similar scenario this Saturday may see tens of thousands of Limerick fans racing to get the last scheduled train from Heuston, which leaves at 9pm. With this in mind, Irish Rail last week confirmed it will be laying on an additional service at 9.10pm to ferry supporters home.

The last scheduled Bus Eireann coach service leaves Busaras at 8.30pm – but the national bus firm is laying on a special service at 9pm. JJ Kavanagh and Kelly Travel are providing services and Dublin Coach is adding extra capacity so there are lots of options. Tickets are available from, plus selected Centra and Supervalu stores. They are priced from €35 for Hill 16 tickets to €50 for seats in the stands.


Source: The Limerick Leader
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