Sunday 21 July 2019

GAA refusal to move qualifier tie frustrates Curragh chiefs


Curragh CEO Derek McGrath
Curragh CEO Derek McGrath
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Irish Derby chiefs are unhappy with the GAA after they turned down an appeal to move the throw-in time of Kildare's All-Ireland SFC qualifier with Tyrone in Newbridge on Saturday.

According to Curragh CEO Derek McGrath, organisers of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby - which has a 5.20 start time - were anxious to avoid a clash with the qualifier match in nearby St Conleth's Park (throw-in 5.0). Local businesses were also hoping the start of the GAA match would be put back.

The Newbridge game forms part of a televised double-header which also features Mayo and Armagh at 7.0. Both games will be shown live by Sky Sports. "Certainly it's disappointing for the Derby itself given the proximity of both events," McGrath told the Racing Post.

"An approach was made to the GAA but we have to respect the fact it has a lot of matches on at the weekend and it has to make decisions in the best interests of its own sport. It's an unfortunate clash as they're both important events. Unfortunately the GAA weren't able to meet our requests.

"A request was made that the match be played later or on another day but that was denied and we have to respect that."

Last year, the 'Newbridge or nowhere' stand-off that surrounded Kildare's showdown with Mayo also clashed with the Derby. GAA bosses had originally deemed St Conleth's Park unsuitable for the tie, but the Newbridge venue hosted the game at 7.0 while the Derby went off at 5.15.

There's an added complication to this year's events due to the volume of traffic in the area and the ongoing roadworks on the M7.

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