Special Games may prompt rethink of Croker policy on non-GAA sports

FORMER GAA president Joe McDonagh believes that the Association will be forced to rethink its policy towards allowing other sports to be played at Croke Park, following the successful hosting of the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics.

“I would imagine there were one or two buttons pressed on Saturday night,” McDonagh admitted on Newstalk 106 last night.

“I’m sure all avenues will be explored by my successor Sean Kelly. It’s so important to have the venue filled, to ensure the huge debt the association owed will be paid.”

Meanwhile, Armagh manager Joe Kernan has expressed reservations about the current backdoor format. He described the system as being too rushed and not allowing teams to undertake adequate preparation.

The All-Ireland winning coach believes that the provincial series should be run on a league basis, which he says would give teams the extra games they desire. In Ulster for example, Kernan says: “The province should be split into two leagues of four and five, with the top two teams in each going into the semi-finals.”

In team news, Dublin will definitely be without corner-back Barry Cahill for Saturday’s Bank of Ireland All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Derry in Clones.

The St Brigid’s star has been ruled out for the remainder of the summer with cruciate knee ligament damage, which he sustained during training last week. Tommy Lyons also has injury worries over Johnny Magee (broken nose), David O’Callaghan (hamstring) and Paul Griffin (ankle), ahead of the make-or-break tie with Mickey Moran’s side.

Wexford include young senior stars Keith Rossiter and Rory Jacob in their side as they put their Leinster U-21 crown on the line against Dublin at Dr Cullen Park in Carlow this evening.

It’s a repeat of last year’s provincial final, when a late Wexford goal forced extra time, from which the Model County emerged victorious.

However, they come up against a Dublin side which includes six of their senior side, with star midfielder Conal Keaney confident of leading his team into a provincial final meeting with Kilkenny

Meanwhile, Waterford have included nine members of their senior panel for their U-21 Munster SHC meeting with Clare at Walsh Park tomorrow night

The full-back trio of Michael Crotty, Ger Hayes, and Eddie Rockett are all first team regulars with the seniors, as is centre-forward Mark Power. Another quintet, wing-backs Niall Hennessy and Eamonn Walsh, midfielder John Hurney, and forwards Shane Walsh and Billy Harty, were also on the senior squad.

WEXFORD (U21 HC v Dublin): M. White, T. Hawkins, P. Roche, J. Kavanagh, S. O'Neill, K. Rossiter, E. Keeling, W. Doran, J. O'Connor, D. Mythen, P. Curtis, D. Nolan, R. Jacob, T. Devereux, A. Kavanagh.

LAOIS (U21 HC v Kilkenny): P. Mullaney, J. Walsh, A. Delaney, J. Joe McHugh, D. Keenan, F. Keenan, C. Brophy, C. Coonan, B. Ferns, S. Norton, T. Fitzgerald, J. Hooban, S. Dwyer, E. Jackman.

WATERFORD (U21 FC v Clare): K. O’Mahony; M. Crotty, G. Hayes, E. Rockett, N. Hennessy, A. O’Loughlin, E. Walsh, S. Dempsey, J. Hurney, T. Whelan, M. Power, S. McGrath, L. O’Lionain , S. Walsh, B. Harty.

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CourtsGaaPlace: Croke ParkPlace: UlsterPlace: ClonesPlace: Dr Cullen ParkPlace: CarlowPlace: Walsh ParkPerson: Joe McDonaghPerson: McDonaghPerson: Sean KellyPerson: Joe KernanPerson: KernanPerson: Barry CahillPerson: Tommy LyonsPerson: Johnny MageePerson: David O’CallaghanPerson: Paul GriffinPerson: Mickey MoranPerson: Keith RossiterPerson: Rory JacobPerson: Conal KeaneyPerson: Michael CrottyPerson: Ger HayesPerson: Eddie RockettPerson: Mark PowerPerson: Niall HennessyPerson: Eamonn WalshPerson: John HurneyPerson: Shane WalshPerson: Billy HartyPerson: M. WhitePerson: T. HawkinsPerson: P. RochePerson: J. KavanaghPerson: K. RossiterPerson: E. KeelingPerson: W. DoranPerson: J. O'ConnorPerson: D. MythenPerson: P. CurtisPerson: D. NolanPerson: R. JacobPerson: T. DevereuxPerson: A. KavanaghPerson: P. MullaneyPerson: J. WalshPerson: A. DelaneyPerson: J. Joe McHughPerson: D. KeenanPerson: F. KeenanPerson: C. BrophyPerson: C. CoonanPerson: B. FernsPerson: S. NortonPerson: T. FitzgeraldPerson: J. HoobanPerson: S. DwyerPerson: E. JackmanPerson: K. O’MahonyPerson: M. CrottyPerson: G. HayesPerson: E. RockettPerson: N. HennessyPerson: A. O’LoughlinPerson: E. WalshPerson: S. DempseyPerson: J. HurneyPerson: T. WhelanPerson: M. PowerPerson: S. McGrathPerson: L. O’LionainPerson: S. WalshPerson: B. HartyEvent: Special OlympicsEvent: Bank of Ireland All-Ireland SFCEvent: LeinsterEvent: U-21 Munster SHCOrganisation: CrokerOrganisation: GAAOrganisation: ArmaghOrganisation: All-IrelandOrganisation: DublinOrganisation: DerryOrganisation: WexfordOrganisation: Model CountyOrganisation: KilkennyOrganisation: WaterfordOrganisation: LaoisOrganisation: U21Organisation: U21 FCOrganisation: Clare
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