Monday 24 June 2019

'We have at no stage questioned playing Dublin next Saturday night in Croke Park'

Donegal will play Dublin in Croke Park
Donegal will play Dublin in Croke Park
Donegal County Board chairman Mick McGrath. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfle

Chris McNulty

Donegal County Board chairman Mick McGrath says the 'Super 8s' need to be "a level playing field".

Donegal last week raised concerns about Dublin playing two games at Croke Park in the Super 8s and had a high-level meeting with GAA chiefs in Croke Park.

Dublin will face both Donegal and Roscommon at Croke Park in the Super 8 series and Donegal - who will play at home to Tyrone in the final group game on the August Bank Holiday weekend - voiced their displeasure.

Donegal will face Dublin on Saturday at Croke Park and McGrath insisted that they did not seek to have the fixture moved to another venue.

"The issue is that we were asking for clarity on how any county can declare Croke Park as a home venue in the Super 8s," he said. "We have at no stage questioned playing Dublin next Saturday night in Croke Park, that's clearly in the rules that the Ulster champions and Leinster champions play in Croke Park. Some members of the media did try to make it that there was an issue, but we never raised it as an issue with Croke Park or anywhere else.

"When all the small print was studied, it came down to who was playing where and the venues, it became decisive. And in particular, we asked the question and we continue to ask the question and we will ask it at Congress, how can any team declare Croke Park as a home venue? "A lot of people have asked since that, why has it only been raised now? But we only got into the Super 8s after winning the Ulster title so there was no point in raising it before that."

Donegal are expected to put a motion to the 2019 GAA Congress calling for the games between the provincial champions to be played at neutral venues.

McGrath said: "The Super 8s has to be a level playing field, and it cannot benefit one county over another. I am sure the people, all 32 counties voting on it, wouldn't have viewed that at the time when the championship reached the quarter-finals, who should be playing first, second or third."

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The Donegal manager Declan Bonner, meanwhile, moved to address a suggestion that Donegal had boycotted a GAA media event in Galway as a form of protest.

"The only reason there is no player there is that we're training this evening," Bonner said.

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