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Kevin mac: I don't buy croker call

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KEVIN McMANAMON has rejected claims that Dublin footballers garner a "huge advantage" from playing all of their championship matches in Croke Park.

The Dublin forward also suggested that opposing players enjoy coming up to take on the Blues in the Capital.

The controversy over Dublin's perennial residency at GAA headquarters was reignited when Offaly manager Pat Flanagan questioned the fairness of it at this week's Leinster GAA senior championship launch.


All-Ireland favourites Dublin will play either Offaly or Longford in a May 31 quarter-final pencilled in as the headline act of a Croke Park double-header also involving the Dublin and Galway hurlers.

At last night's Dublin GAA open night in Russell Park - home of St Brigid's - McManamon was asked if he'd like to play outside Croke Park, just to put the issue to bed.

"Genuinely, it has no effect on me personally," the St Jude's man replied. "At the end of the day we're just told to play there."

He added: "I do enjoy the away days and you always get good banter out of the fans and stuff down the country, but I kind of think the (opposition) players like it. I think the players like coming up to play Dublin …

"I think that's where everyone wants to play. Is that not the general consensus?"

Contrary to Flanagan's suggestion that it's unfair, McManamon declared: "I don't necessarily think it's a huge advantage. At the end of the day, we play a couple of league matches there alright but, like, it's a pitch. It's the same size as all these other pitches. It's the same atmosphere. I don't know, I wouldn't buy into it."

Meanwhile, Alan O'Connor will make his first Cork start in almost two years in a challenge against Dublin at Cill na Martra tomorrow.

O'Connor's last Rebel run-out also came against Dublin, in the 2013 All-Ireland quarter-final. He recently performed a retirement U-turn and will now start at midfield alongside Ruairi Deane, who returns after tearing his cruciate in last summer's Munster final against Kerry.

Tomorrow's collision in west Cork comes just two weeks after Dublin demolished the Leesiders in the Division One league final at Croke Park.

CORK (SF challenge v Dublin): P O'Shea; S Cronin, J O'Sullivan, K Crowley; T Clancy, T Clancy, B O'Driscoll; A O'Connor, R Deane; P Kerrigan, C Dorman, Colm O'Driscoll; D Goulding, P Kelleher, J Hayes.

CARLOW (SHC v Laois): K Kehoe; S Kavanagh, J Rogers, A Corcoran; R Coady, D English, E Coady; D Byrne, C Wall; JM Nolan, E Byrne, P Coady; Sean Murphy, Seamus Murphy, M Kavanagh.

KILDARE (Christy Ring Cup SH v London): P Dermody; N O Muineacháin, M Grace, J Doran; D Stapleton, D Young, E O'Neill; K Whelan, M Moloney; J Byrne, L Quinn, P Divilly; B Deay, E Dempsey, M Delaney.