Sport Gaelic Football

Saturday 24 March 2018

Lilies up in arms over venue for Sligo showdown

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

FOR the second week in a row, Kildare are said to be unhappy with the venue for their qualifier fixture.

The Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) confirmed the times, dates and venues for the final round of qualifiers yesterday, and the Lilywhites are less than pleased that their supporters have to travel to Roscommon's Dr Hyde Park to face Sligo on Saturday evening.

The last round of qualifiers are usually fixed for neutral venues, and Clones or Cavan's Kingspan Breffni Park -- a venue that Lilywhites fans have already travelled to in huge numbers this summer for their win over the Breffni men -- are believed to have been the preferred venues of Kildare officials.

However, Kildare supporters have to make the trip west to Roscommon, where Sligo played their Connacht final defeat to Mayo.

Last weekend, Kildare chairman John McMahon wasn't happy when the Lilies were fixed to play their qualifier clash with Limerick in Portlaoise -- despite the fact that they were drawn first and were due to enjoy home advantage against the Munster men.

"These draws are clearly done on a home-and-away basis. It was made live on the national airwaves and we were drawn first out of the hat -- and that gave us home advantage," McMahon said at the time.

"For teams and supporters it's not about gate receipts or the size of gates, it is about your team getting through to the next round."

However, Croke Park pointed out that Newbridge wouldn't have met the demand for tickets from Kildare and Limerick fans, and the game was moved to O'Moore Park on health and safety grounds.

St Conleth's Park is one of a host of provincial venues that have seen their capacity reduced after recommendations in the Slattery report.

Despite Kildare's unease at the choice of venue, it remains highly unlikely that there will be any change.

It's believed that Meath official David Coldrick -- who was the man in the middle for Kerry's clash with Tyrone -- will take charge of the game.

Irish Independent

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