By Peter O’ Dwyer
The county boards of Meath and Dublin have become embroiled in a dispute over the staging of the Leinster U-21 football final between the two sides.
Meath are unhappy with the decision to hold the game in Portlaoise and have reacted incredulously to the Dublin board’s claim that the game cannot be played at Parnell Park due to maintenance work.
Meath originally sought a coin toss to decide the venue but, after Dublin’s protestations, offered to travel to the Dublin venue on April 2nd. This was rejected by the Dublin county board who have now fixed the game for O’ Moore Park in Portlaoise due to maintenance work being carried out on the Parnell pitch and floodlights.
The decision has been branded “an absolute joke” by Meath county chairman Conor Tormey.
“It’s an absolute joke, everybody in Meath can’t believe that they’re bringing us to Portlaoise,” Tormey told the Herald.
“No maintenance work happens on grounds in March. Unless they think we’re gobshites altogether here in Meath…we’re not that gullible,” he added.
The Meath suspicions are thought to be heightened by the fact that the Meath U-21s semi-final against Offaly was held under lights in Parnell Park with no problems just last week.
Dublin chairman Andy Kettle responded to the accusations that no works were taking place by claiming the work had been scheduled for some time.
“This thing [maintenance work] has been booked for quite some time, and we don’t get very many windows to do work with Parnell Park. The pitch is in a bit of a state at the moment and this was a window,” he said.
Dessie Farrell’s Dublin side are hot favourites against a Meath side playing in their first U-21 final since 2001.
Throw in at O’ Moore Park is at 7.30pm on Wednesday April 2nd.