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Lilies intent on staying home

THE Kildare county board has no intention of leaving Newbridge without a fight, amid speculation that they could be forced to play all of their 'home' league games outside the county next spring.

"It's our intention to hold our games in Newbridge," declared Kildare chairman John McMahon.

He was responding to a report that the restricted capacity at St Conleth's Park (reduced to 8,000 arising from the Slattery Report) could compel the newly promoted Division One side to move their four home ties against All-Ireland champions Donegal, Kerry, Dublin and Tyrone.

Kildare were forced to move last summer's 'home' qualifier against Limerick to Portlaoise because of capacity issues. Work on improving St Conleth's Park is a "work in progress" and McMahon said they hoped to get capacity beyond 8,000, but this "has to be within the realms of health and safety".

Meanwhile, Dublin could be facing a curtailed 'Spring Series' in Croke Park based on the draft league fixture list, with games against the Limerick hurlers and Tyrone footballers on Saturday, March 16, the only obvious double-header at present.

Moving Kildare's opener against Donegal to headquarters on Saturday, February 2, as a double-header with Dublin/Cork, would be an obvious option - presuming the Lilywhites would be willing to facilitate it.


p KILKENNY footballers are on the march - to Britain. Their county board has voted unanimously to withdraw its senior and U21 football teams from next year's National League Division Four and the Leinster junior and U21 championships.

Instead Kilkenny will play teams from London and other parts of England and Scotland in a redrawn British championship next summer. The move is in response to multiple crushing defeats in recent years, culminating in a 50-point defeat to Louth in this year's Leinster U21 FC, and has the backing of Croke Park.

p THE Mayo county board fully expects James Horan to see out his three-year term, following reports earlier this week that he was "considering his position" because of various logisitical issues with the board. Mayo spokesperson Aiden McLoughlin stressed that all the headline points mentioned (such as training facilities and the use of MacHale Park) could be sorted out while the choice of hotels in Dublin prior to games last summer was "out of their control".

p CONOR COUNIHAN has accepted the Cork county board's offer of a two-year extension as football manager. However, he will take charge for a sixth season with a radically different management team as Ger O'Sullivan, Terry O'Neill and Jim Nolan are all stepping down, with Peadar Healy the only selector staying on.