Tuesday 24 April 2018

I'd rather play Dubs in Croker than in Nowlan Park, says Laois star Darren Strong

Laois footballer Darren Strong. Photograph: James Flynn/APX
Laois footballer Darren Strong. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

Jackie Cahill

Laois star Darren Strong has voiced his opposition to the staging of a potential Leinster SFC quarter-final against Dublin at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny.

Strong has echoed the sentiments of teammate Colm Begley by insisting that he'd rather play the All-Ireland champions at Croke Park if Laois get over Wicklow in their opening provincial clash.

Strong (30) says that he's struggling to understand the "logic" behind staging the game in Kilkenny city after O'Moore Park was overlooked by Leinster chiefs, despite intense lobbying.

Strong said: "We've to get over Wicklow and then fight to get it in O'Moore Park. It's not set in stone that it's in Kilkenny either according to the people we're talking to."

"I think it's a joke and as our chairman (Gerry Kavanagh) said, if we'd drawn with Dublin in 2014, the replay would have been in Portlaoise. Now, it's a better stadium and they won't play in it with more capacity.  I'd love to get the logic behind it but there's been too much talk about us playing Dublin. I'm sure that's written on the Wicklow wall."

Strong insists that Laois are right to take a stand and insists that there's no advantage against the Dubs if the game does go ahead at Nowlan Park on June 4. He added: "Obviously we have to get over the first match but you have to take a stand. Imagine getting Dublin down to O'Moore Park? You'd fill the place. If it's in Kilkenny, I'd rather play in Croke Park.

"Everyone's shouting to get Dublin out of Croke Park but where's the advantage for Laois or Wicklow in Kilkenny? Imagine Wicklow getting them to Aughrim? The crowd alone would be worth something. If the match was in Croke Park, you'd get more Laois supporters there than in Kilkenny."

Irish Independent

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