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Dublin footballers to continue playing home quarter-finals at Croke Park


Action from the 2018 All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final between Dublin and Donegal at Croke Park. 
Action from the 2018 All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final between Dublin and Donegal at Croke Park. 

By John Harrington

The Dublin footballers will be able to continue using Croke Park as their home venue for All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Finals.

Donegal GAA’s motion to prevent counties from being permitted to nominate Croke Park as their home venue was defeated at Congress 2019 today after just 36 per cent of the delegates voted in favour of it. It required a majority of 60 per cent to pass.

Dublin GAA secretary, John Costello, described the motion as “divisive and mean-spirited” and said it would be "a public relations disaster" for the GAA if they had to turn away thousands of supporters from the county's Championship matches.

Dublin received support from the floor from Wexford GAA Central Council delegate, Tony Dempsey.

"We oppose the motion for a couple of reasons,” said Dempsey. “At a very basic level we've talked about a loss of income and attendance.

“Croke Park adds to both because of the facility it is. Croke Park doesn't belong to Dublin. It belongs to every other county as much as it does Dublin.

“It's one of the finest stadiums in Europe. My Grand-daughter played there a couple of years ago and in 40 years’ time she'll still talk about it.

“Any rule which would prohibit or stop teams playing in Croke Park, in my opinion, is out of touch with players' ambitions. Dreams are very fragile, don't shatter them.

“The poet Alexander Pope said hope springs eternal in the human breast. Don't kill the hope of the players who might not play in an All-Ireland Final, but could play in the final eight.”

Séamus O'Domhnaill, Donegal GAA, speaking in favour of Motion 39, relating to counties nominating Croke Park as their home venue in the football intercounty quarter final group stage, which was defeated, during the GAA Annual Congress 2019 at the Clayton Whites Hotel in Ferrybank South, Wexford. 
Séamus O'Domhnaill, Donegal GAA, speaking in favour of Motion 39, relating to counties nominating Croke Park as their home venue in the football intercounty quarter final group stage, which was defeated, during the GAA Annual Congress 2019 at the Clayton Whites Hotel in Ferrybank South, Wexford. 

Donegal GAA Central Council delegate, Seamus Ó Domhnaiill, said fair play rather than financial considerations should be the chief consideration on the issue.

"I take an issue with people saying this is a divisive and mean-spirited motion,” said Ó Domhnaill.

“If there's a situation in our organisation that is unfair, this is the forum where it should be addressed. Let us address the imbalance that's there.

“There is one team that gets to play two games in Croke Park (in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final series).

“It's important we correct the imbalance and there's fairness and openness for everybody.

“The ethos of this Association is the games, and to provide games in fairness is what we should be focused on.

“Are we more interested in finances or fairness? I would ask everyone to support a motion that ensures a more level playing field for all counties."

Despite Ó’Domhnaill’s appeal, the Donegal motion fell some way short of the 60 per cent it required to pass.