Wednesday 20 February 2019

All Ireland champions Dublin to lose second Croke Park 'Super 8' game

 

Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire Cup last September. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire Cup last September. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Donegal have tabled a motion for Congress next month, calling for no county to be allowed to designate Croke Park as a ‘home’ venue in the ‘Super 8s’. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Dublin's bid for the All-Ireland football five-in-a-row is likely to involve playing three games outside Croke Park for the first time in many years.

Donegal have tabled a motion for Congress next month, calling for no county to be allowed to designate Croke Park as a 'home' venue in the 'Super 8s'. Dublin are widely expected to reach that stage of the championship as Leinster champions for a ninth successive season.

Two of their Super 8s games were in Croke Park last year, sparking controversy over whether it handed them an unfair advantage.

Donegal, who lost to Dublin in the opening round, protested over Croke Park being designated a neutral venue and are now seeking to change the rule governing the venue arrangements.

Dublin played Tyrone in the second round in Omagh last year and finished off against Roscommon in what was their official 'home' game.

"We haven't mentioned Dublin in the motion.

"We're just calling for no county to be allowed to nominate Croke Park as a home venue. We think that's fair to everybody," said Donegal chairman Michael McGrath.

If the Donegal motion is passed by Congress and Dublin reach the Super 8s, they will either have to play their 'home' game in Parnell Park (capacity 9,500) or at a bigger venue of their choice other than Croke Park.

The Central Competitions Control Committee remain keen to maintain a round in Croke Park, featuring the four provincial champions.

That's where the problem arose last year as Croke Park was deemed neutral for Dublin, Donegal, Kerry and Galway.

Donegal manager Declan Bonner was furious over the arrangements, which had been agreed by Congress when they backed the introduction of the Super 8s.

"It's supposed to be a level playing field for the eight teams. I don't think it's level for us when we have to play two matches away from home (v Dublin and Roscommon) and one other team (Dublin) has two home games," he said.

It now remains to be seen how the rest of the country will react to Donegal's motion, but given Dublin's current standing it's likely that there will be considerable support for taking them out of Croke Park for two of the three Super 8s games.

They begin their Leinster Championship campaign against Wexford or Louth on May 25.

If it's Wexford, the game will be in Innovate Wexford Park, but no decision has yet been taken if Louth are the opposition.

Irish Independent

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