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Stars divided over the addition of Hill 16 fence

ONE week after the new Hill 16 barrier went up, this Sunday will see the first serious test of Croke Park's latest 'stay off the pitch' policy -- no matter who claims the All-Ireland spoils.

Will Tipp fans be able stay in their seats if their heroes lift Liam MacCarthy for the first time in nine years? And what about the Kilkenny masses if the holders make it a famous five in a row?

Well, whatever their fans think, it seems there are mixed views in the Kilkenny squad. "I'd like to see the fans let out on the field because, at the end of the day, when you win, you are looking for your family, you are looking for your friends; you want to be jumping around the field with them," said JJ Delaney at the Kilkenny press night.

"Then again, I know where they're coming from -- I don't want anyone hurt or anything like that either. But I'd like to see them on the field. It makes it more special."

Meanwhile, Jackie Tyrrell speculated that -- no matter how high the new fence is -- you could have Kilkenny or Tipp fans trying to scale it at the final whistle.

"It's part of what we are," Tyrrell added. "When Liam Fennelly was captain (in 1992) I was out on the field looking up at him and putting the grass in my back pocket, thinking, 'I was at Croke Park today'. It's part of the GAA. There are health and safety issues but I don't agree with it."

Goalkeeper PJ Ryan clearly has a different view.

"I'm not a fan of them, and I have done the pitch invasion thing myself back in 1992 and 1993 when Kilkenny won All-Irelands. But it's only now, from a player's perspective, that I can see just how dangerous it is," Ryan told The Player magazine last week. "It's nice to look down upon the crowd from up there, but I know myself, it's very, very dangerous," added Ryan, who said it was harder on the losing side because, with lads running towards you, "you just wish for a hole to open in the ground to swallow you up".


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