GAA chiefs may consider fixing the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final between Tyrone and Dublin as a standalone fixture at Croke Park next weekend.
Though support for Pat Gilroy’s side has waned since their Leinster championship exit, the pairing could force Association chiefs to reconsider plans to play the quarter-finals as double headers.
The Central Competitions Control Committee will meet this afternoon to assess their options and finalised times and officials for the clashes of Kerry and Down, Kildare and Meath along with Cork and Roscommon.
All-Ireland champions Kerry will be without the suspended Tomás O Sé and Footballer of the Year Paul Galvin for their clash with the James McCartan’s side.
Their last championship joust was in the 1991 All-Ireland semi-final, which the Ulster side won en route to All-Ireland glory. Cork last met Roscommon in the championship in 2004 when they were sensationally defeated by the Connacht men in the qualifiers.
Dublin chairman Gerry Harrington last night admitted: “We will play whenever the CCCC ask us to play.”
He added: “This particular match will nearly fill Croke Park on its own and we are looking forward to the challenge.
“To win an All-Ireland title, one has to beat the best. And hopefully things will work out for us.
“We are steadily improving. We have put a lot of hard work in but due to an error here or there, we have let teams into matches. But there are a lot of positives to be taken from the recent games against Louth and Armagh in the qualifiers. We will be working on those things and trying to erase any mistakes we have made in the past and I have no doubt that Pat Gilroy and his management team will be doing their all.”
Dublin wouldn’t lack for motivation given the 3-14 to 1-8 hiding they received from Tyrone at this stage two years ago. Harrington continued: “It is a very tough draw for Dublin. Tyrone are Ulster champions and have been there or there about over the last number of years. They put up a huge score against us in that last championship game and they will be coming into the game as strong favourites.”
Kildare selector Niall Carew has described the clash with Meath as “a tough draw for both teams” and asserts that if his ever-improving side could overcome the Royals, it would represent a major leap forward for the Lilywhites.
This is Kildare’s third successive season to have reached the last eight and it is time for them to take the next step, according to Carew.
“It’s a tough draw for both teams and it’s a game that both teams will think they can win. It’s a derby that can throw up anything. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to play in a quarter-final and are just hoping to go a step further again but it will be a very tough battle. The good thing about playing Meath is that they will give you a good, honest team. They are a genuine team that play championship football and if we could beat them, we would see that as progress again and we’d know we have a team on the up.
“Meath are a good team. They were in the semi-final last year and were there two years before so they’re used to winning quarter-finals, where it’s another step we have to take… and we have to take it.”
All-Ireland SFC quarter-final draw: Kerry v Down, Meath v Kildare, Roscommon v Cork, Tyrone v Dublin.
All-Ireland SFC semi-finals pairings: Kerry or Down v Meath or Kildare, Roscommon or Cork v Tyrone or Dublin.
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