'Stick to the rules that you created': Cian O'Neill refusing to accept 'bewildering' venue decision

By Stephen Barry

Cian O'Neill has insisted that Kildare will be togged out in St Conleth's Park on Saturday evening.

Their round 3 qualifier against Mayo, for which they were drawn to have home advantage, was instead fixed by the GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee for Croke Park at 7pm as part of a double-header with Cavan v Tyrone.

Following a statement from the Kildare County Board, which stated, "we will not play this game in Croke Park", O'Neill insists his management team and players are unified in their stance.

Speaking of his "shock" at the scheduling, he told RTÉ News: "The players are the most important stakeholders in this whole argument - we were all ready for St Conleth's Park at 7 o'clock on Saturday.

"We're coming off the back of two challenging and tough journeys up to Owenbeg in Derry and Pearse Park in Longford.

"To get a home venue for our round 3 qualifier was a real positive for us, for the players and the fans.

"For that to be pulled from underneath your feet for no apparent reason is just bewildering.

"I'd like to be explicitly clear, and this is coming from the management team and the players, the rules clearly state the first team drawn out has a home venue, unless they're playing a Division 3 or 4 team, and that's exactly where we're going to be on Saturday night.

"We'll be in St Conleth's Park, we'll be togged out, we'll be ready to go.

"That's our home venue, we've earned it by winning the last two matches on the road, and that's not going to be taken away from us.

"I don't think Mayo mind where they play. The draw is the draw, the fixture is the fixture.

"Let's be fair about this. Stick to the rules that you created, stick to the draw that was made in the presence of the President of the GAA, John Horan, this morning.

"Let's get on the pitch on Saturday in St Conleth's Park in Newbridge at 7 o'clock"

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