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'They Have Two Home Games And We End Up With Two Away Games'

'They Have Two Home Games And We End Up With Two Away Games'
By PJ Browne Updated

Even before Newbridge Or Nowhere had reached a resolution, the GAA's next big venue controversy was already looming on the horizon.

It came clearly into vision on Tuesday night when Donegal GAA announced it would be seeking a meeting with GAA decision makers regarding the venues for two of Dublin's games in the upcoming Super 8.

As part of the new All-Ireland quarter-final group stage, teams will have one match at home, one away and one at Croke Park. Jim Gavin's side will play two of its games at Croke Park. The first is against Donegal on July 14th and the second against either Roscommon or Armagh on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

"C.L.G. Dhún na nGall are to seek a meeting with GAA Officials to seek clarification on how any County may use a Ground as both Neutral and a Home venue," read the statement.

"The intention of the meeting is to ensure a level playing field for every team who will qualify for the All-Ireland Quarter-Final Group Stage and ensure that no team has any advantage over any other team."

Speaking to Donegal Sports Hub, Donegal manager Declan Bonner echoed the county board's statement.

In fairness to all eight teams, they should be all playing on the one pitch, and at the minute there seems to be a slight edge towards Dublin and the fact that they have two homes games, and we end up with two away games.

In terms of fairness, if Donegal were to play Dublin and someone said the game was to be played at a neutral venue, then you would expect somewhere like Cavan or Clones, or a neutral venue.

Though both the county board and Bonner reference a neutral venue, the rules governing this stage of the championship do not. Only Croke Park is mentioned for the opening round of fixtures.

Donegal's meeting with the GAA - which is taking place on Thursday according to RTÉ - is unlikely to affect change but it certainly has raised awareness regarding an inequitable aspect of the championship.

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There is the possibility that Roscommon or Armagh, whichever emerges from their round four qualifier game on Saturday, has a stronger case for Dublin to play their home match at Parnell Park rather than their adopted home of Croke Park.

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

See Also: Joe Brolly Believes His Derry Side Would Have Easily Beaten Modern Mayo


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