NO POINT IN COMPLAINING Mayo GAA Chairman, Seamus Tuohy.
Chairman says CCCC made decision over Saturday evening fixture
THE Chairman of the Mayo GAA County Board has said there is no point complaining about the decision to play Mayo’s qualifier game against Kildare in Croke Park, despite some discontent amongst supporters.
Mayo were drawn against beaten Leinster finalist Kildare in Round Two of the All-Ireland senior football qualifiers, with the GAA confirming on Monday that the game will be played in Croke Park on Saturday evening with a 6pm throw-in.
The decision to fix the game for Croke Park on a Saturday evening was queried by a number of Mayo supporters on social media, with many saying the cost involved in having to travel to Dublin will be too prohibitive.
Many felt that it should be staged in a provincial venue as it would be less expensive and a smaller ground would generate a better atmosphere.
Mayo GAA Chairman Seamus Tuohy told The Mayo News that the county board had no input into the decision and believes that most Mayo supporters would prefer travelling to Croke Park.
“That was a decision for the CCCC [Central Competitions Control Committee] in Croke Park but for us it was about being in the draw. We have no problems playing in Croke Park, we have played there a number of times in the past and it is something to look forward to. Most Mayo people like travelling to Croke Park above any venue in the country.
“People will have made up their mind at this stage on whether they are going to travel or not but it is up to each individual to decide. I’m sure there will be people who might be disappointed with a Saturday evening fixture but that is the fixture ahead of us and our focus is on that game for Saturday evening. There is no point in us complaining at this stage because we have to be fully focused on the challenge in front of us,” he said.
‘Newbridge or Nowhere’
The last time Mayo played Kildare in the Championship was in 2018 when the Lilywhites beat Mayo in the infamous ‘Newbridge or Nowhere’ fixture. At the time the CCCC had originally pencilled in Croke Park as the venue for the qualifier despite Kildare being drawn as the designated home team.
This lead to an outcry among the Kildare supporters and forced Croke Park into an unexpected u-turn when Kildare management and players famously told them that they would only play in St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge.
Mr Tuohy said that there was always an expectation that when the fixture was made it would be fixed for Croke Park.
“Once the draw was made this morning there was a general feeling that the fixture was going to be in Croke Park because there is an expectation that there will be a sizable crowd at that game. I think for a double header you could be looking at 45,000 to 50,000 on a Saturday evening. It is a big fixture and Kildare will have a sizeable crowd travelling and I expect the same from Mayo.
“As regards venues we have no objection and our focus is totally on the Kildare game on Saturday evening. I don’t think it was a fixture which was going to come west of the Shannon. If it was [played outside Croke Park] maybe the likes of Tullamore was considered but we look forward to playing in Croke Park and we have no problem playing in it. That is the venue that has been given and that will be the focus over the coming days.”