Leinster Council hoping Croke Park will be available for most of provincial championship

There had been speculation games like the Wexford-Galway SHC semi-final would be played in GAA HQ.
Leinster Council hoping Croke Park will be available for most of provincial championship

Provincial officials met with GAA chiefs late last week about the possibility of using the venue for the vast majority of their headline football and hurling competitions.. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leinster GAA are hoping to organise the lion’s share of their senior championship games for Croke Park from next month.

Provincial officials met with GAA chiefs late last week about the possibility of using the venue for the vast majority of their headline football and hurling competitions.

It explains why no venues have been fixed for all but one of the games. The Leinster central competitions control committee met on Monday and while dates were believed to be finalised they are hoping they can come to an arrangement with Croke Park to host the majority of their matches.

It was already known the senior football final will be played in Croke Park on Saturday, November 21 to coincide with the GAA’s commemoration of Bloody Sunday. That had been agreed during the summer in conjunction with the Central Competitions Control Committee.

There had been speculation games like the Wexford-Galway SHC semi-final on Halloween weekend would also be played in GAA HQ.

However, Leinster are keeping their powder dry and according to chairman Pat Teehan the decision not to select venues has to do with the fluid Covid situation in the province.

“We’ll wait and see until closer to the time what the restrictions are,” Teehan said.

“Because there’s no point agreeing on venues when we don’t know what the restrictions in the county will be and you might have to change.”

With several games expected to take place in mid to late afternoon and matches having to be decided on the day, the Leinster Council also faces a difficulty in organising venues in late October and November due to the lack of floodlit county/national stadia in the province.

Just four have such facilities - Croke Park, Parnell Park, Portlaoise’s MW Hire O’Moore Park and Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow town. Otherwise suitable venues such as UPMC Nowlan Park, Chadwicks Wexford Park and Bord na Mona O’Connor Park don’t have them. However, the stand in Cullen Park wouldn’t be considered large enough to facilitate a reasonably-sized crowd with social distancing in place.

Meanwhile, Galway hurling central competitions committee will meet later this week to discuss amending the rules should Saturday week’s senior final between Turloughmore and Cappataggle/St Thomas end level after normal time.

According to the fixtures booket, the game should go to a replay in such an event but because of the delayed nature of the final the committee are considering that there should be a winner on the day.

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