Connacht and Ulster are both exploring the prospect of moving their primary championship games to Croke Park later this year.
ith restrictions on crowds and venues still expected to be in place by then, Croke Park may appeal as a venue that can more safely accommodate a crowd of up to 20,500 with one-metre social distancing provisions, a recent profiling assessment established.
Connacht secretary John Prenty confirmed the province will actively look at Croke Park for the concluding stages of their championship, semi-final and final, because of the seating it provides that allows clearer specified distancing between occupants than terracing.
"Croke Park is a real option for us because of that if it’s two metres or even one metre, even for a semi-final double bill," he confirmed.
MacHale Park in Castlebar has uncovered seating on two sides in addition to a stand that could house a crowd but Croke Park’s spaciousness may be required in the current circumstances.
Ulster GAA president Oliver Galligan acknowledged that Croke Park is also an option for them but only if their own grounds are deemed unsuitable under the potential restrictions.
Clones could accommodate the biggest crowd with uncovered seating on the bottom half of the famous hill, opposite the Gerry Arthurs Stand.
"It's a pity we don’t have Casement Park advanced but we'll take whatever advice is given and if Croke Park is deemed more suitable for some of our games, we'd have no problem going," said Galligan.
Ulster held its provincial finals at HQ three years running, from 2004 to 2006, at a time when Tyrone and Armagh were riding high and there were crowds of up to 60,000.
Munster have more suitable venues with a redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Semple Stadium and Limerick’s LIT Gaelic grounds all with seating capacity on two sides, though the Gaelic Grounds has uncovered seating on one side.