Sunday 20 August 2017

This is how the U2 concert could force Leinster final out of Croke Park for the first time in 73 years

A general view of Croke Park Picture: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The Leinster football final will be forced out of Croke Park for the first time since 1944 if a replay is required this year.

A U2 concert is booked in for Croke Park on Saturday, July 22, six days after the Leinster final.

It means that if the final is drawn, the replay will be played away from Croke Park since it would not be possible to delay it until July 29/30 as the losers are due to play a Round 4 All-Ireland qualifier on that weekend.

Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, the Leinster stadium with the highest capacity (28,000) outside Croke Park, would probably host a replay.

The last Leinster football final to be played outside Croke Park was 73 years ago when Carlow beat Dublin by three points in Athy in 1944. It remains Carlow's sole senior provincial success.

The last Leinster final to require a replay was in 2004 when Westmeath beat Laois to win the title for the first time.

Dublin have dominated Leinster since then, winning 11 of 12 titles, losing out in 2010 only when they were beaten by Meath in the semi-final.

Based on recent years, when Dublin maintained provincial dominance with utmost ease, the odds favour the All-Ireland champions retaining the provincial title again this year, probably without any replays.

They are 1/25 favourites to take the title, followed by Meath on 18/1, Kildare on 22/1 and Westmeath, runners-up for the last two years, on 80/1.

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Irish Independent

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