Dublin keep home comforts as ‘mean spirited’ motion defeated

Motion would have denied any county using Croke Park as a home venue in Super 8s

Eoghan O’Gara scores a goal against Roscommon in the All-Ireland quarter-finals last season. Photograph: Inpho

Eoghan O’Gara scores a goal against Roscommon in the All-Ireland quarter-finals last season. Photograph: Inpho

 

Dublin will not be required to play any home championship fixtures outside of Croke Park.

Motion 39, proposed by Donegal, stipulated that any county in the All-Ireland quarter-final round robin could not nominate Croke Park as a home venue. It was defeated 36 per cent to 64 by delegates.

Donegal played Dublin at this stage last year although in what is called ‘the Croke Park round’ in which the four provincial champions and four qualifiers played their first group matches.

At the time the county raised its concerns about Dublin having two quarter-final matches in Croke Park, a venue also used by the champions for all of their home league matches in recent years.

The county initially opposed a proposal last November by the Central Competitions Control Committee to persevere with the ‘Croke Park round’ but when submitting a motion to annual congress Donegal instead targeted the nominated home venue.

Speaking to congress, Donegal chair Michael McGrath, who never mentioned Dublin specifically, said that using Croke Park twice was a “greater advantage to those who have more use of the venue than others” and that the restriction applied only to the All-Ireland quarter-finals and not semi-finals or finals or provincial championship matches.

The motion was opposed by former president Seán Kelly, saying that Croke Park was “a great asset to us as an association but it has to be in some county”. For anyone, he continued, “who wanted to aspire to beating Dublin, they should aspire to beating them in Croke Park”.

Opposition was also voice by Wexford’s Tony Dempsey and Meath’s Francis Flynn, who drew attention to a potential problem for a county like his, which might need to nominate Croke Park as a home venue if Páirc Tailteann was unavailable because of refurbishment work.

In a lengthy contribution, Dublin CEO John Costello said that the county would nominate Parnell Park if required by rule not to use Croke Park, which would have led to a massive capacity shortfall given the Donnycarney venue’s ability to hold just over 8,000.

Last year’s crowds to see the Monaghan-Kildare and Dublin-Donegal double bill and the Roscommon match weren’t outstanding but, at 53,501 and 33,240, were considerably in excess of that.

Costello introduced a fractious note by describing the motion as “divisive and mean spirited” - a charge with which Donegal’s Séamus O’Donnell said he took issue.

“We don’t expect to play two matches in MacCumhaill Park (Ballybofey),” he said, adding that “where there is imbalance, Congress must address it.”

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