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D-day for Dubs

THE Dublin county board will discover tonight whether its senior football champions can compete in this year’s AIB Leinster club championship.

A full meeting of the Leinster Council will vote on a proposal from the province’s fixture-making body, offering Dublin an extra three weeks to complete their long-delayed Evening Herald Dublin senior football championship.

Under the proposed revised schedule, the first round of the Leinster club SFC won’t take part until November 13, with subsequent rounds also put back and the final itself refixed for December 18, instead of December 4.

The capital’s SFC champions were due to face their Meath counterparts on October 23. However, with club fixtures in the capital chronically pushed back by the county’s standout success in both codes – reaching four All-Ireland finals – there isn’t a hope of the Dublin SFC being finished in time to fulfil the above fixture.

With this in mind, the Leinster CCC has offered a once-off escape route that would afford Dublin a chance to defend the club crown won by Kilmacud Crokes last January.

It remains to be seen whether Leinster delegates will buy into the plan when it goes to a vote this evening. There is some impatience over Dublin’s inability to advance their club championships any further, but the likelihood is that they will get the green light as a once-off measure.

There is also a proposal to delay the Leinster club SHC quarter-final between the Dublin and Westmeath champions by one week, from October 30 to November 6, and this looks set to be rubber-stamped.

Contacted today, Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly explained the backdrop to tonight’s meeting. “It has just been an incredible year for Dublin GAA. The bottom line is that normally, some counties may get into bother and it’s one code that will cause the problem,” Skelly told the Evening Herald. “But in Dublin’s case, it was the amount of success they had in both codes, reaching four All-Ireland finals – two in football and two in hurling – that really exacerbated the problem.

“While it’s wonderful to see that success, it has also created a major headache for the Dublin fixtures programme. That is appreciated by the Leinster Council,” the Longford official added.

“Dublin have notified us that they are willing to put in place a high-powered committee to re-examine the whole fixtures structure in the capital, one that would ensure clubs would not find themselves in this position again.

“That is Dublin’s guarantee, and that is part of the argument that they will put before the Leinster Council tonight. Our CCC (competitions control committee) have recommended that Dublin would be given an opportunity to finish out their championship ... but ultimately the delegates will decide whether Dublin have a case,” he concluded.