Saturday 15 December 2018

Home comforts will continue on the double for Dubs next year

Dublin's record-chasing footballers look certain to have two round-robin games in Croke Park again next year if, as expected, they reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin's record-chasing footballers look certain to have two round-robin games in Croke Park again next year if, as expected, they reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Dublin's record-chasing footballers look certain to have two round-robin games in Croke Park again next year if, as expected, they reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Despite disquiet being expressed this year when Dublin were the only quarter-finalists who didn't have to travel for two games, the GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) are happy to retain the same arrangements in future.

Croke Park is classed as a neutral venue for Dublin, despite the fact that they use it for all 'home' games. It led to calls for them to play one round-robin game at a neutral venue, but that finds no favour with the CCCC.

"Since the introduction of the qualifiers in 2001, Croke Park has been considered a neutral venue for quarter-finals, including games involving Dublin. Fixtures there have been generally welcomed by players above games in any other venue," states a CCCC document circulated to counties yesterday.

It notes that deciding on Croke Park's status as a neutral venue is a matter for Congress, but clearly the opinion of the top fixture-making group will be an influential consideration. The matter will be discussed on Saturday week by Central Council, which faces a busy agenda.

The CCCC have briefed counties on their views on a Tier 2 football championship and on whether a change of format in the hurling league is advisable from 2020 on.

The hurling proposal is for the 12 teams in Division 1 to be separated into two groups of six, three each from 1A and 1B. Effectively, it means that teams from the lower end of 1B would be playing what are now 1A opposition.

Two proposals are on the Tier 2 football agenda. One features all 16 Division 3 and 4 teams being excluded from the qualifiers in favour of the Tier 2 competition, while the other allows them to compete in both.

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