Monday 24 July 2017

Residency of Dubs in Croker 'unfair', says Offaly manager Pat Flanagan

Pat Flanagan: 'I’m probably putting my neck on the line here, but when you play Dublin in Croke Park in every game, it’s not a fair competition any more'
Pat Flanagan: 'I’m probably putting my neck on the line here, but when you play Dublin in Croke Park in every game, it’s not a fair competition any more'
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

The launch of the Leinster championships saw a familiar issue raise its head.

In his address at Farmleigh House, Leinster Council chairman John Horan looked to tackle the thorny issue of where Dublin play their games head on.

There is, he said, no sense in holding a game at a venue that simply can't meet demand; he also warned that ticket concessions would suffer were the cash cow that is the Dublin footballers moved from Croke Park.

"I see no point in potentially locking people out of games while a stadium lies unused elsewhere," Horan said.

The Leinster Council will use Croke Park six times this year, two more than they are contracted to do under an agreement with the GAA.

Dublin will once again play all of their championship games at HQ, bringing to nine years since they were last sent on their travels in the championship.

And Offaly manager Pat Flanagan believes that is unfair. Should Offaly overcome Longford in their first-round clash, they'll head for the Jones' Road venue to face the Dubs.

"You want to just go on the whole ethos of the GAA, it's supposed to be a fair competition," he said.

"I'm probably putting my neck on the line here, but when you play Dublin in Croke Park in every game, it's not a fair competition any more.

"Laois and Offaly would either be in Portlaoise or Tullamore; Westmeath and Offaly, it would be in Mullingar or Tullamore; Offaly and Longford, it's going to be in Pearse Park or Tullamore.

"So why is that not applied to every county in Leinster?"

Dublin manager Jim Gavin repeated his stance that his side would play anywhere, pointing out that his side had played seven games away from home this year.

He also accepted that Dublin's dominance in Leinster - they have won nine of the last ten provincial titles - has exacerbated the issue.

"As the Leinster chairman said, it's about letting people see the games live. Provincial stadiums might not have the capacity," he said. "It's completely taken out of our control and we've always played where we're told to play."

Irish Independent

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