GAA fears crowd ‘animosity’ if Kildare v Mayo is in Newbridge

Chair of CCCC, Ned Quinn explains reasoning behind change of venue to Croke Park

The Kildare squad ahead of their league clash with Mayo earlier this year. Photograph: Inpho

The Kildare squad ahead of their league clash with Mayo earlier this year. Photograph: Inpho

 

The GAA have claimed that anticipated crowd ‘animosity’ outside of St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge was one of the reasons for them rescheduling Saturday’s qualifier against Mayo to Croke Park.

Kildare and the GAA are set for a Mexican stand-off, with the Lilywhites issuing a statement on Monday claiming they will be in Newbridge for their round three qualifier. The GAA however, who stripped the Lilywhites of their home advantage and moved the match to Croke Park, have stated that a no-show would result in Kildare forfeiting the game and Mayo progressing to the fourth round.

On Tuesday morning Ned Quinn, chairman of the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC), told Off The Ball’s OTB AM;

“People are eager to see their own county playing championship and it was a possibility that people would turn up seeking to get admission to try and buy tickets outside the ground despite knowing that tickets weren’t available.

“The risk would be that people would get involved with other spectators, that’s the risk.

“I wouldn’t call it crowd trouble but there could be animosity shown to people who had tickets and they couldn’t get them, claiming they were regular supporters of Kildare.”

Kildare - who he said were denied their home advantage primarily because of Newbridge’s 8,000 capacity with an expected demand closer to 20,000 - were offered the opportunity to nominate an alternative ground, but declined to do so.

“I just want to clarify again that Kildare had the opportunity to nominate a venue other than Croke Park, but declined to do so,” explained Quinn. The CCCC chair was far less adamant than Feargal McGill, the GAA’s director of games administration, was on Monday when he told The Irish Times;

“There is no room for manoeuvre, not when it comes to health and safety. If Kildare don’t show up in Croke Park on Saturday at 7.0pm the game will be awarded to Mayo.”

OTB AM also explored the possibility that, should Kildare be forced to forfeit, they could take legal action which could hold up the entire Championship via an injunction.

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