Leinster Council chairman John Horan has described the decision to take Dublin to Nowlan Park last summer as a “cautious” first step forward.
Opponents Laois were furious that the game wasn’t played in Portlaoise and their anger was piqued by Wednesday’s confirmation that the back-to-back All-Ireland champions may belatedly play in Portlaoise next summer.
If Carlow beat Wexford in the first round of the Leinster championship, then Dublin will play them in Portlaoise. Otherwise, the Dubs will travel to Innovate Wexford Park.
The Portlaoise development has raised the obvious question of why it wasn’t chosen for this year’s game, though Horan explained the Leinster Council’s thinking on the issue.
“Last year we did it on the basis that we were going to the biggest venue (after Croke Park) to test it out and we were taking a cautious step,” said Horan. “It hadn’t been done in 10 years. Now we feel we can take another step forward and spread the actual base that Dublin would use.
“You’d be talking about Wexford, Portlaoise, and Tullamore as possible venues but again it’ll be reviewed every year and we’ll just see how it goes. If there are problems out of it this year, we’ll have to review them. But we had no problems last year, Kilkenny did a great job and there was a great atmosphere there.”
Dublin forward Eoghan O’Gara shrugged at the development. “We enjoyed it as a team this year. There was a lot of talk and hype about us having to move out of Croke Park but it was never an issue for us as a team,” said O’Gara, who revealed he’s in the dark about whether club mate Denis Bastick will continue to play for Dublin. “He keeps his cards close to his chest so I honestly don’t know. I’d say he is still thinking about it.”
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