Ulster hurling final 2013 rescheduled for 2 February

Neil McManus battles with Andy Savage in the 2010 Ulster Final

The much delayed 2013 Ulster Senior hurling final between Antrim and Down has been rescheduled for Sunday 2 February, 2014 at Celtic Park.

The match is now set to take place on the same day that Antrim begin their Football League campaign and just a week before Loughgiel play their All-Ireland club hurling semi-final.

The game was originally scheduled to be played on Sunday 7 July, 2013.

It was then rescheduled for 3 November, before being postponed again.

This is because the November date fell during the closed inter-county period.

Antrim hurling captain Neil McManus says the gloss has been taken off the postponed Ulster Hurling final

The GAA introduced the closed autumn and winter period for county teams a number of years ago in an attempt to reduce player burnout.

The final was originally put off from its July date because that day was required for Down's semi-final replay with Derry.

Holiday commitments prevented the game taking place in the following weeks.

And when the game was arranged for 3 November in early September, the Ulster Council explained that this decision was taken "to ensure that clubs have access to all players for the duration of the county and provincial club championships".

Antrim captain Neil McManus admitted the reasons for the original postponement were "largely unforeseen" and the fixture had fallen victim of "a crowded fixture calendar".

"Hopefully steps can be taken to ensure that it doesn't happen again and we can see something of a resurgence in Ulster hurling," said McManus.

"The Ulster Hurling final is normally a really enjoyable thing to look forward to but the gloss has certainly been taken off it now.

"It would have been nice to play the final with last year's panel and in the height of summer but now we're just using it as preparation for the National League and Down will do likewise."