Sports Minister criticises GAA decision

Michael Ring says moving the All-Ireland semi-final replay from Dublin was a wrong call

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring believes the GAA were wrong to move Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay to Limerick. Photograph:  Frank Miller

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring believes the GAA were wrong to move Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay to Limerick. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

The GAA has come in for further criticism for staging the All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay in Limerick rather than Dublin, this time from the Minister of State for Sport Michael Ring.

The match between Kerry and the Minister’s constituency, Mayo, has been moved from Croke Park due to an American football match taking place on Saturday between Penn State and the University of Central Florida.

The Minister said yesterday it was wrong to move the match away from Croke Park and it should have been delayed for one week to be played again in Dublin.

“I don’t think it’s right bringing our supporters down there. We have three bottle necks on the way to Limerick. We have Tuam, Claregalway and Clarenbridge,” he said.

Big crowd

“It is not a suitable venue for Mayo. It is not a venue that they know. Personally, I think All Ireland semi-finals should be played in Croke Park.”

Speaking in Dublin at the announcement of the intended merger of the National Sports Campus Development Authority and the Irish Sports Council into one statutory body called Sport Ireland, Ring added the big matches in a GAA season should be held in the Dublin headquarters

When asked would he prefer if the GAA should had delayed the match for a week, he replied: “I would. I would. I would have preferred it to be Croke Park.

“I would say, and I’m not afraid to say it, the core business of the GAA is the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the finals and those games should be played in Croke Park.”

The Minister added, however, he had no influence over the decision-making process in the GAA and that he had not and would not interfere with association decisions about venues.

“I have no influence,” he said. “I have no influence at all. That’s a matter for the GAA, how they do their business. They run their business. I run my business. I’m the Minister for Sport but I don’t have any responsibility for the overall running of the GAA.”

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