Longford chief wants Dubs forced to leave capital

Jim Gavin, Dublin manager

Longford chairman Brendan Gilmore has called on the Leinster Council to force Dublin to travel for their provincial championship opener in 2015.

Jim Gavin’s side have been drawn against either Longford or Offaly in next year’s Leinster quarter-final, with provincial chairman John Horan this week hinting the fixture would be played at Croke Park.

Dublin’s last provincial encounter outside of GAA HQ arrived in 2006, a successful quarter-final clash at Pearse Park, Longford. Gilmore says it is high time the Dubs were again forced out of the capital.

“We had them down in 2006 and it was one of the most enjoyable days ever at Pearse Park. I know for a fact the Dublin supporters who travelled thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” recalls Gilmore.

“It was a big day for the coffers in Longford. For restaurant owners, for publicans, for shopkeepers it was a massive day. The Dubs appreciated it as well. They were delighted to get out of Croke Park and travel down the country.

“Back in 2006 some 17,000 filled the ground. Health and safety concerns have now seen the ground’s capacity reduced to around 11,000. If Offaly were to get past us in the first round they would probably have a better chance of staging the game because the capacity of O’Connor Park is around 20,000.”

“Laois sought to have this summer’s quarter-final against Dublin staged at O’Moore Park, but the motion was defeated by 11 votes to one at a meeting of Leinster Council top brass. The powers-that-be will ultimately decide and they will look at the potential gate receipts from having the game at Croke Park compared to Longford or Tullamore.

“At some stage they will have to come out of Croker. Money will have to be allocated to develop the venues around Leinster because at the moment, outside of Croke Park, how many are capable of hosting a Leinster championship double-header? There are none.

“The best chance you have of beating Dublin is outside of Croke Park.They wouldn’t have as much space as they do in Croke Park.”

Gilmore revealed Sean Dempsey has been drafted in as the new coach in Jack Sheedy’s backroom team, with former Longford footballer Philip Kiernan replacing Liam Keenan as selector.


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