Boss tops the bill so Kilkenny and Cork set to go out early

Bruce Springsteen concert cited as the reason for unusually early start for eagerly-awaited clash as Clare v Galway gets top billing

Having been name checked by Limerick hurling manager John Allen on Sunday, veteran US rocker Bruce Springsteen came up for further mention in a GAA context when Croke Park confirmed he was the reason for the unusual timing of the Cork-Kilkenny All-Ireland hurling quarter-final the weekend after next.

It had been assumed the latest edition of hurling’s most recurrent All-Ireland pairing would be top of the bill in Thurles, with Clare and Galway opening proceedings on Sunday 28th of this month.

“It was a simple response to a request,” according to Feargal McGill, the GAA’s Head of games administration. “Bruce Springsteen is playing that evening in Nowlan Park and naturally a number of Kilkenny people have tickets to attend.

“There are occasions when there’s no reason not to be flexible on certain matters and we felt that Clare and Galway will also be a good match, so we agreed.”


If that was the most unusual aspect of the fixtures for a busy fortnight released by the GAA yesterday, there was also confirmation that Kildare’s home draw against Tyrone in round three of the All-Ireland football qualifiers would be played in Newbridge this Saturday.

St Conleth’s Park has a small capacity of 7,500 – although that has been increased in recent months – and the match will be all-ticket.

“The anticipated attendance is bigger than the capacity and consideration was given to moving it to another venue,” said McGill, “but Kildare suffered because of a similar decision last year and it was felt because of that and the work that has been done on the ground in recent months that we should go with Newbridge.”

A year ago Kildare were drawn against Limerick at a similar stage of the qualifiers and although they had home advantage it was decided to move the fixture to O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.

So Tyrone, who had a big win in Newbridge during this year's divisional league matches, will have to travel for a big match – the stand-out tie of the qualifiers, drawn yesterday – for a second time this season.

Home advantage
In May having been drawn away to Donegal, who insisted on retaining home advantage, they had to go to Ballybofey for an Ulster first round, won by the All-Ireland champions.

The counties have crossed paths in a number of big matches in recent years, going back to the All-Ireland quarter-final of 2009, won by Tyrone.

Kildare had a measure of revenge in last year’s league Division Two final at Croke Park and only three months ago they met again, this time in the Division One semi-finals, from which Tyrone emerged.

The winners will be back in Croke Park to play Meath in the final round of the qualifiers on the evening of July 27th as part of a double bill with Cork versus the winners of the Galway-Armagh qualifier.

If Alan Mulholland’s underperforming Galway need any encouragement it’s worth recalling that when the county won its last All-Ireland in the first year of the qualifier format in 2001, their round three and four matches were also against Armagh and Cork, both defeated at Croke Park.

McGill also clarified the situation in relation to the protected draw in the All-Ireland stages of both championships. Both Dublin and Limerick as Leinster and Munster champions are protected from Galway and Cork, who they respectively defeated in the provincial final.

Should Galway defeat Clare and Kilkenny beat Cork, Dublin would have to face Kilkenny, who they have already played twice in the replayed Leinster semi-final, as they would have played both counties and priority is given to avoiding re-runs of provincial finals.

Were Clare to beat Galway, however, Dublin would not play Kilkenny, as they have done so already.

The same protocol governs the draw for the All-Ireland football quarter-finals and no defeated provincial finalist, who emerges from round four of the qualifiers, can be drawn against the champions of their own province.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times