Wednesday 15 August 2018

All Ireland champions Dublin to launch title defence in Tullamore or Portlaoise

 

James McCarthy, left, and Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin lift the Sam Maguire
James McCarthy, left, and Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin lift the Sam Maguire
If the Dubs’ opponents are Offaly, the game will be played in Bord na Móna O’Connor Park, with O’Moore Park the venue for a Dublin-Wicklow tie (stock picture)
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

After a decade playing all of their championship games in Croke Park, Dublin footballers will be on the road for a third successive year when they launch the defence of the Leinster and All-Ireland titles on the last weekend in May.

While the Leinster Council have yet to officially announce a venue, it's understood that Dublin will be headed for Portlaoise or Tullamore.

Dublin play the winners of Wicklow or Offaly, who meet in the first round in Portlaoise on May 13.

If the Dubs' opponents are Offaly, the game will be played in Bord na Móna O'Connor Park, with O'Moore Park the venue for a Dublin-Wicklow tie.

Joule Park, Aughrim, which has a capacity of around 7,000, will not be considered for Dublin v Wicklow. O'Connor Park has a 17,000 capacity, necessitating all-ticket arrangements for a Dublin-Offaly clash.

A crowd of 13,328 attended last year's Dublin-Carlow Leinster quarter-final in Portlaoise while 16,764 turned out in Nowlan Park for the Dublin-Laois tie in 2016.

It was Dublin's first championship game outside Croke Park since 2006. Dublin haven't played Offaly in the championship since 2007 while their last meeting with Wicklow was in 1990.

Longford and Meath, both of whom received a bye into the Leinster quarter-final, will meet in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park after work on the ground brought it up to the required standard.

Meanwhile, Mayo manager Stephen Rochford has released midfielder Jason Gibbons and attacker Alan Freeman from the championship squad.

Gibbons played in Mayo's early Allianz league games while Freeman came on as a sub against Donegal in the final round. Ger McDonagh and Donie Newcombe have also been released.

Cian Hanley, who spent three years playing Aussie Rules with the Brisbane Lions, has been added to the squad.

Irish Independent

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