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Leinster insist Dublin will never become 'fifth province'

LEINSTER Council CEO Michael Delaney has dismissed Dublin's claim to be treated as a fifth province, as outlined last month.

In 'Unleashing The Blue Wave', which detailed the county's strategy for the next six years, Dublin made clear they wanted to be treated as a province for both funding and administration purposes.

But with any such motion requiring a two-thirds majority at Congress, Delaney rejected the notion out of hand.

"Dublin will always be a Leinster county and, okay, they made a very good case for getting more finance, but they won't become another province. Not in my time. We have the 12 counties and they'll happily be one of ours," he said.

"Dublin, I won't say they're just another county, but Meath and Kildare are growing almost as swiftly as Dublin, with the audiences and population as well. Okay, Dublin have a good case and they have been treated separately and will continue to be treated separately, but they'll never be a fifth province."

Delaney also confirmed that they would be prepared to reschedule games around the Republic of Ireland's European Championship campaign should Giovanni Trapattoni's men reach the knockout stages.

"We've undertaken that we will (change fixtures). We've made that clear to TV3 and RTE -- if there's direct clashes here, we'll have to rejig what we've arranged," he said.

Looking forward to a summer jam-packed with major international sporting events in 2012, Delaney hopes a new ticketing strategy will help keep attendances up.

"The four provinces are in the middle of a series of meetings with the central authorities on a lot of things to do with finance. Ticket pricing is one of the things we know we have to discuss, between now and the end of the year actually," he said.

"Our attendances held up pretty well (in 2011) -- little bits of dips here and there. We reckon that, under one heading or another, between 60pc and 70pc of our paying public got in under some package or another."

Irish Independent