Monday 23 April 2018

Limerick replay gives Eamonn Fitzmaurice's Kerry an edge - Mayo PRO

Mayo manager James Horan
Mayo manager James Horan
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Mayo county board PRO Aiden McLoughlin believes that Kerry's familiarity with the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick gives them a distinct advantage ahead of their All-Ireland semi-final replay on Saturday evening.

There has been a lot disquiet over the fact that a College American Football game will take place at GAA headquarters while one of the biggest games of the gaelic football calendar is relegated to Limerick.

Mayo launched an objection after both sides played out a thrilling draw on Sunday and admitted that they had no knowledge of the venue change for a replay until it was announced to the crowd at Croke Park.

"As soon as the match referee blew the whistle at the end of the match on Sunday it was announced over the PA system that the replay would be taking place next Saturday evening at 5pm at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick," Mayo county board PRO Aiden McLoughlin told Morning Ireland.

"That was the first we had heard it.

"We made our objection and our feelings known Sunday immediately following the game and yesterday morning we got word from Croke park that the fixture is at 5pm on Saturday evening in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. We've had to accept that decision.

"It's not going to suit supporters on both sides, we're aware of that."

McLoughlin, a Swinford GAA clubman, outlined that Mayo launched an objection on the grounds that they felt the game deserved to be played at Croke Park for the fan's sake and that the new venue would give the Kingdom an edge

"The primary reason for our objection was that we felt that the players and supporters deserved that the game be back in Croke Park and secondly, Kerry would have a lot of knowledge of the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick having played their in Munster championships whereas we wouldn't really have any knowledge of the Gaelic Grounds," he added.

"To compare it, it would be like asking Kerry to come up to Pearse Stadium in Galway to play an All-Ireland semi-final, that's right on our doorstep.

"We'd be familiar with the ground whereas they wouldn't and I'm sure they wouldn't be happy with that."

It will be the first time since the Dublin-Cork replay in 1983 that an All-Ireland semi-final will be held outside Croke Park.

Fears over further replays being required pressed the GAA into sending Mayo and Kerry on the road to Limerick this weekend, president Liam O'Neill explained yesterday.

O'Neill said the decision not to wait a further seven days to stage the replay in Croke Park, as advised by Mayo manager James Horan, was made out of concern over the potential backlog that a further replay would create.

He said the All-Ireland hurling final date had not influenced the decision.

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