Wednesday 23 October 2019

Only Congress can decide whether Dubs have 'Super 8s' home comforts - McGill

Feargal McGill addresses the media. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Feargal McGill addresses the media. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

The GAA's head of games administration Feargal McGill insists it's up to Congress to decide whether Dublin will be afforded two games in Croke Park in next year's 'Super 8s' series.

The Dubs are expected to cruise through Leinster once more and, as things stand, they will play in Croke Park twice in the revamped All-Ireland quarter-final stage.

Earlier this season some counties cried foul on the basis that they would have to travel twice in the three-game series while Dublin would only have to hit the road once.

Yesterday the GAA unveiled the fixture plan for 2019 which will see provincial champions handed home advantage in round one of the Super 8s but he indicated that Dublin will continue to play twice in Croke Park unless there is a rule change brought about at Congress in February.

"Ultimately, it's specified in rule; it's something that Congress voted for," explained McGill.

"It's not like the order of the games which we saw a dispensation from for a year. It's more serious than that, the opportunity is going to be there in February for anyone that wants to bring a motion, and I suspect there will be a motion.

"If Croke Park is not to be regarded as a neutral venue for quarter-finals, that's 100pc. All the CCC can do is react to that and put the games where they are.

"For CCC to come and say, 'Well we consider Croke Park a neutral venue for an All-Ireland semi-final when Dublin are playing, but we don't consider it a neutral venue for a quarter-final' would be a bit rich from CCC. So if the association wants to do that, great but I don't think it would have been right for CCC to try and interpret the view of Congress on that. I think Congress will get the say on that in February and whatever happens, happens."

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Central Council will sponsor a number of motions to Congress next year that will include moves to see the Joe McDonagh Cup final and the preliminary quarter-finals finish 'on the day' while there is also a switch afoot to move from free-kicks/pucks being used to decide games to penalties. The GAA are heading into the second year of their three-year experiment with the new-look calendar and McGill insists it will be after 2020 before a judgement on its success can be made.

"I've said this consistently that things won't change overnight. Last year we changed the national fixture calendar obviously, this time of year last year in December we presented it to you (the media) and the counties at essentially the same time. To expect counties to design their competitions for 2018 and make huge changes at that stage probably wasn't (practical) so we always felt it would be at least the second year and possibly the third year before people would start making inroads with the time we have made available."

Talks with the AFL surrounding a International Rules series opened earlier this month with the possibility of a Test in the US still alive.

"I'd say there's a possibility (of a game in the US), but again it's kind of up in the air but when we have something we'll tell you." 

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