“Is it nessesary to issue a press release to tell people you have asked for a meeting with Croke Park?” wondered former Dublin forward Alan Brogan on Twitter last night.
For the last week, the Gaels of Donegal have been making public their objections over the venue choice for their first match of the All-Ireland quarter-finals series, the Super 8s if you will, against Dublin at Croke Park.
Brogan was referring to the Donegal County Board declaring its intention to meet with the powers that be "to seek clarification on how any county may use a ground as both neutral and a home venue" and "to ensure a level playing field for every team."
This followed on from Donegal boss Declan Bonner claiming on Off The Ball that there "seems to be a slight edge towards Dublin" playing two matches at Croke Park while one of Bonner’s predecessors Jim McGuinness called on Dublin to “do the right thing” in moving one of the Croke Park fixtures to another venue.
The one-time All-Ireland winning manager told the written press last week: "All this thing that is fired at Dublin negatively, it can't be… it helps their own legacy, it helps Jim Gavin's legacy, it helps the team's legacy and it stops people from being negative. They've got the biggest population, they've got the most money and all these things.
"So it's an opportunity to rise above that and go to a neutral venue and do what they do anyway and that's win almost every single game."
Incredible words from an intelligent sports coach such as McGuinness.
But the suggestion that the four All-Ireland titles, five Leinster titles and five National League titles won under the management of Jim Gavin are somehow tarnished by various perceived advantages is nothing new for Gavin, his players and the loyal Dublin support.
For the last five years there have been an incredible amount of column inches and radio airtime used to discuss these perceived advantages, and praise the nearly men, rather than focusing on the hugely talented generation of players from the capital and what they do on the pitch.
You will never hear Gavin or his players complain about that though and nor would they complain if they were asked to play one of the two matches fixed for Croke Park at a different venue.
Donegal knew the rules long before last week and it would seem they attempted to garner some of the public support that got behind Kildare’s successful campaign to keep their qualifier match against Mayo at St Conleth’s Park. The difference being, Kildare won home advantage in the draw.
The teams in the Super 8 series are handed a Croke Park match, a home game and an away game and most sane people, including the most ardent but fair Dublin supporter, will admit that the Dubs playing two of the three games at GAA HQ is an unfair advantage so there are two alternative options.
Firstly, Dublin could play the first round at Croke Park along with the other teams, then travel for their second game, before playing their home game at Parnell Park.
There are approximately 3,500 Dublin supporters who hold a GAA season ticket while approximately 2,000 are in possession of a Parnell Pass. With the all-ticket capacity for a championship game at Parnell Park around the 9,000 mark it would mean that there would be just 3,500 tickets left to give to the other team's season ticket holders before the remainder is split between the county boards of the hosts and whatever side they were up against. Considering the fact that Dublin themselves could pull a crowd of 60,000 plus, the Donnycarney option is plain daft.
The other option would be to make a change to the rules whereby the opening weekend games are played in Croke Park, unless Dublin are involved. In which case that particular opening tie is moved to a ground and province neutral to both sides, i.e. Dublin v Donegal is played at McHale Park or Páirc Uí Caoimh (Playing Donegal in St Tiernach's Park wouldn't exactly be neutral would it?). Then Dublin play their second match away and the third back on Jones' Road.
Everyone's a winner! The playing field is leveled for all competing teams (mission accomplished Donegal). The Dublin supporters get another away day which they would relish, despite some ignorant comments made by non-Dubs to the contrary, while the seekers of fairness and integrity in gaelic games competitions can rest assured in the knowledge that their work is done, or is it?
Last summer the Dublin senior hurlers were forced to play their All-Ireland round two qualifier against Tipperary at Semple Stadium, despite the fact that the match was supposed to be played at a neutral venue.
That came just three years after they were forced to play the men from the Premier County in an All-Ireland quarter-final, again, on their own patch in Thurles. Where is the fairness in that? And despite Dublin county board chairman Sean Shanley highlighting the issue last July, strangely there was no outcry as witnessed over the last week in support of Kildare (rightly so) and Donegal.
It is also worth highlighting the major advantage that the Kerry footballers have in almost every championship year. The team that has won Sam Maguire more than any other county has played just two matches to qualify for the Super 8s as provincial champions while poor old Donegal were forced to play four matches to qualify as Ulster champions.
And in nearly every year that the men from the Kingdom have won the All-Ireland crown, their path to final contains less games than the opposing counties. Is that fair?
Those who are keen to highlight Dublin's advantages will always shoot down accusations of anti-Dublin sentiment claiming that all they seek is a competition with integrity. But it's hard to deny those accusations if they deny Dublin a fair hop of the ball too.