Dublin chief warns GAA ruling has put Spring Series 'in jeopardy'
Published 11/03/2011 | 05:00
Dublin chief executive John Costello says the GAA's decision not to sanction their proposed 'Friday Night Lights' Allianz Football League fixture with Mayo has thrown the entire future of their vaunted Spring Series into doubt.
A furious Costello feels the decision has left the future of the Dubs' big promotional series "in jeopardy" and described Croke Park's attitude to Dublin's strong promotional ideas as "negative" and the association's central ticketing system as "an abject failure initially."
Dublin are furious that the Central Competition Control Committee (CCCC) has blocked their proposal to play Mayo on this day week, a date they felt was particularly suitable as many people are expected to take an extended long weekend because St Patrick's Day falls on a Thursday.
"The future of the Spring Series being held in Croke Park is in jeopardy," Costello warned.
"From Croke Park's new ticketing system, which was an abject failure initially and is now being modified on a weekly basis, to the CCCC's refusal to play our game on a Friday, we feel central powers could have been a lot more helpful in our quest to promote our national games.
"We fully intend to review the whole operation at the conclusion of the National League. But suffice to say, for the meantime, that many of our experiences have been negative -- which is very unfortunate as one of our main ambitions with the Spring Series has been to cultivate a greater awareness and love of our national games in our youth."
Mayo were agreeable to playing their league meeting next Friday night, but the CCCC said this was not possible because of 'player welfare' issues.
Dublin estimate that moving the game to the Sunday will result in a loss of close to 10,000 fans and county chairman Andy Kettle confirmed that they will review the Spring Series situation at the end of the season.
He said that if the board faced "insurmountable difficulties" with regards to future scheduling, then their plans to continue playing league games in Croke Park would have be reviewed.
Dublin's 'Spring Series' initiative, which has combined live musical entertainment with playing home league games in Croke Park this season, was set to continue for three years -- and all of the Blues' home football and hurling league games in 2012 were expected to be staged at headquarters.