Sunday 26 May 2019

Donegal's grounds for concern over Croker clash with Dubs


Donegal manager Declan Bonner. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Donegal manager Declan Bonner. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Another venue row is brewing after Donegal confirmed their intention to seek a meeting with the GAA over the decision to fix their All-Ireland quarter-final with Dublin in Croke Park.

They intend to use the meeting "to seek clarification on how any county may use a ground as both neutral and a home venue," in the All-Ireland quarter-final series.

"The intention of the meeting is to ensure a level playing field for every team who will qualify for the All-Ireland Quarter-Final Group Stage and ensure that no team has any advantage over any other team," a Donegal statement outlined last night.

Under rule, 'Super 8s' teams play one game in Croke Park and one each at home and away. There is no specific mention of a 'neutral' venue but Donegal feel that Croke Park should be classed as Dublin's 'home' venue and are challenging their potential access to two games there.

The issue was raised last week by former manager Jim McGuinness while current Donegal manager Declan Bonner also feels teams are being disadvantaged by the anomaly. A GAA spokesperson said they noted Donegal's statement and added that they would be happy to provide that clarification in the coming days.

Elsewhere, the GAA have opted to fix the Kerry/Galway All-Ireland quarter-final first round match in opposition to the World Cup final on Sunday week, instead of Dublin and Donegal.

Dublin and Donegal are scheduled to anchor the Saturday evening programme in Croke Park with a 7pm throw-in, in keeping with other recent All-Ireland quarter-finals involving the All-Ireland champions against Monaghan (2017) and Donegal (2016).

The World Cup final will kick off at the same time as the Kerry/Galway game, while the curtain-raiser will be decided once the pairings are known after this weekend's action. Because of distance from Dublin, the Kerry/Galway game was always likely to have a Sunday afternoon slot instead of the later Saturday game. But it will be less convenient for travelling Donegal supporters seeking to return home that night.

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