Football final set for Croker

Frank Roche

THIS year's Allianz Football League final looks set to be staged in Croke Park - especially if Dublin qualify.

GAA president Christy Cooney said it was too early to make any definitive call, but he confirmed there will be no remedial work required on the Croker pitch this spring - an issue that has caused the NFL final to be played elsewhere in the past.

Speaking in Croke Park, Cooney declared: "I'd expect the football finals will be on here, as they have been in the past. It's a matter for the CCCC - we haven't discussed it.

"The hurling final has traditionally been in Thurles (Semple Stadium) for the last couple of years and that will maybe be the situation again, but it depends on who is in the final as well."


As for the surface at HQ, the president revealed: "The pitch is in fabulous nick. I walked it with Peter McKenna (on Tuesday morning) to see how things were and there is a lot of ongoing work ... there are no issues over the pitch. We are very pleased with it."

With Dublin and Cork both vying for a place in the top-flight decider, the Corkman also threw a bucket of cold water on the prospect that such a final could be moved to Leeside - as happened infamously in 1999. "If it's Cork-Dublin, I expect it will be Croke Park," he confirmed.

Abandoned semi has new date for refixture

THE 2009 Dublin U21 'A' hurling semi-final between Craobh Chiaráin and Na Fianna has been refixed for Wednesday, March 31 in Innsfails ground (8.0), writes Conor McKeon.

The initial fixture caused major controversy after it was abandoned by referee Kevin Roche, with Na Fianna leading Craobh Chiaráin by a point with less than a minute of extra-time to go when a row broke out between players from both sides.


In the ensuing melee, some spectators became involved, forcing Roche to call off the match with just seconds remaining.

Subsequently, the melee prompted an investigation from Dublin's Competition Control Committee (CCC), with speculation rife that both teams could be thrown out of the competition, thus making Cuala - who are already in the final - champions.

However, the decision has since been taken to refix the match and the teams will lock horns again next Wednesday. The Dalkey have already captured the 2009 Dublin U21 FC 'A' title having defeated Kilmacud Crokes in the final.