Qualifier decision will ‘fast-track’ Newbridge redevelopment

Kildare chairman John McMahon admits Croke Park’s decision to stage their home qualifier on Saturday to Portlaoise will focus minds on the urgent need to redevelop St Conleth’s Park.

While disappointed that their home advantage against Limerick has been surrendered because the 8,000 revised capacity of the Newbridge venue was deemed too small, McMahon accepts the county board have to turn their attention to their stadium.

However, with Kildare in receipt of a €300,000 advance earlier this season, he concedes it is a difficult prospect.

“It (the switch) has underlined what we have to do. With due respect to this game, we are so well aware Conleth’s needs to be developed. Whether that’s on a phased basis or not, yes it needs to be done. However, the financial facilities are not there at the moment. We’re almost living from hand to mouth. But it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. We will be playing Division 1 football in 2013 and intend having all our home games in Newbridge. But this situation will fast-track what we realise has to be done.”

The Kildare board have called on the expertise of former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy and ex-ESB chief Padraig McManus as members of their finance committee to help raise much-needed funds.

McMahon appreciates Kildare supporters are deserving of an improved home venue. Earlier this year, even though they were entitled to home advantage, Kildare elected to play their first Division 2 game in Croke Park under lights as part of the February league double-header with Dublin and Kerry.

The Kildare board certainly don’t regard the decision to move the game to O’Moore Park as any sort of a reaction to either the Seánie Johnston transfer or Kieran McGeeney’s post-match comments on Sunday about the process.

“There is certainly no complex from Kildare’s point of view,” said McMahon. “I wouldn’t think that somebody would be using it as retribution against Kildare. If that turned out to be the case I would be surprised and disgusted. But the issue is now done and dusted.”

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