Wednesday 13 December 2017

Jim Gavin takes aim at GAA chiefs over staging of concerts at Croke Park

Jim Gavin speaking yesterday and (inset) U2 playing at Croke Park recently
Jim Gavin speaking yesterday and (inset) U2 playing at Croke Park recently
Frank Roche

Frank Roche

JIM GAVIN has reiterated his call for GAA chiefs to “reflect” on their use of Croke Park as a concert venue in the height of summer.

“I just think they have to have a look at the schedule. It’s a stadium built for Gaelic games, first and foremost. That has to be the priority,” the Dublin manager insisted.

Gavin has previously questioned the decision to stage a Coldplay concert just eight days before last month’s Leinster final.

His concern was echoed last Sunday by Roscommon manager Kevin McStay, following a similar turnaround after U2’s Croker ‘homecoming’.

On each occasion a section of the pitch at the Hill 16 end was replaced. The new surface conspired with rainfall to produce an obvious underfoot problem for players.

“I don’t want to be dissing it on Croke Park but it’s not good enough,” McStay said. “If one of our young corner-backs slipped there at a crucial moment and the ball ends up in the net, he’ll never be let forget that moment. And there was a lot of slipping.”

Gavin wasn’t overly inclined to reopen his own debate in the wake of McStay’s comments, saying: “With a couple of days to go to the (Monaghan) game, it is what it is and the eight teams that will be involved in the hurling and football there over the weekend will just have to deal with it. It is what it is - you’d hope that Croke Park will reflect on it.”

When asked if off-season ‘gigs’ was the solution, Gavin reiterated: “That’s for Croke Park to reflect on; to impart management and leadership within the GAA to say what’s right for the games.”

Meanwhile, McStay has maintained Roscommon’s recent policy of unveiling team selections well in advance, announcing an unchanged line-up for Monday’s quarter-final rematch with Mayo in Croke Park (2.0).

Stephen Rochford might take this with a grain of salt, given the replay tendency for 11th hour switches, although the Rossies didn’t make any late changes last Sunday.

ROSCOMMON (SFC v Mayo): C Lavin; S  McDermott, N McInerney, D Murray; J McManus, S Mullooly, B Stack; T O’Rourke, E Smith; F Cregg, N Kilroy, C Devaney; C Murtagh, D Murtagh, C Connolly.

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