Duffy says Dublin’s Spring Series in Croke Park to go ahead

GAA director general Páraic Duffy says Dublin’s Spring Series will go ahead in 2014.

Last week Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle admitted the All-Ireland champions may have to move their football fixtures back to Parnell Park.

This was due to falling crowds at this year’s Spring Series and a lack of available double-headers in next season’s dates.

But it has been decided Dublin will play at Croker next year and ticket packages will be launched.

“My understanding is that it is going ahead,” said Duffy. “I was talking to [Dublin secretary] John Costello last week and Dublin intend going ahead with it. My understanding is it is definitely going ahead in Croke Park.

“There may be a problem with double bills but it’s definitely going ahead with the football games, but it’s a matter for Dublin after that.

“My understanding is that there is a meeting this week between Dublin and Croke Park to finalise it.”

The Spring Series has been running since 2011 when Dublin moved their four home football League games back to HQ.

The crowds that year were good, averaging nearly 25,500, and they rose in 2012 with 31,526 across three dates.

However, attendances slumped this year with an average of 19,000 passing through the turnstiles for five events. Just over 10,000 watched the Dubs-Down in March.

“I think it has been hugely successful,” explained Duffy.

“Dublin have four home games and if you play them in Parnell Park you are talking about a total of 35-40,000 people.

“You are talking double or treble that in Croke Park so it is the right thing to do.”

Parnell Park holds just over 9,000 people while Croke Park, the biggest stadium in the country, can accommodate 82,000.

Dublin will start off their Division 1 football programme with a grudge match against Kerry on February 1, before facing Cork (March 1), Kildare (March 7) and Mayo (March 29). There are currently no available double-header dates with the Dubs’ hurlers, whose home games are against Clare on February 23 and Kilkenny on March 15. Those games are likely to be played at Parnell Park.

This year the League was opened with then All-Ireland champions Donegal taking on Kildare before Dublin-Cork.

However, it may prove harder to persuade other counties to move their home games to GAA HQ in 2014.

The Spring Series’ detractors says that it gives Dublin an unfair advantage in terms of income and experience playing in the biggest ground in the country.

Duffy said that wasn’t the Dubs’ fault and said he was happy to see them playing in Croke Park, while he also confirmed that next year’s Inter-provincial Championships will not be played in Dallas after a plan to bring the competitions to Texas has proven unfeasible.


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