STATEMENT | Kildare insist they "won't play" Mayo in Croke Park

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Kildare are refusing to play their All Ireland third round football qualifier with Mayo at Croke Park. 

This morning's draw should have given Kildare home advantage for Saturday's game, but the GAA opted to package it as part of a double-header. 

The all-Ulster clash of Cavan and Tyrone is due to throw in at 5, with Kildare and Mayo off at 7. 

But the Lilywhites' county board are refusing to concede home advantage from Newbridge. 

They say St Conleith's Park is perfectly capable of hosting the Mayo clash, and that they have the backing of the Gardai. 

The Statement

Kildare GAA would like to explain the chain of events that has led to the
CCCC announcing Croke Park as the venue for the All-Ireland SFC Round 3
Qualifier between Kildare and Mayo, and to state that the team will not be
in attendance, as the game should be taking place at our county grounds, St
Conleth’s Park.

It was with great delight that we greeted a home fixture in this morning’s
draw, a fantastic reward for the loyal supporters who have travelled to
Owenbeg and Longford for the team’s recent Qualifier successes. It is an
attractive proposition too for team management, players, sponsors, the
business people of Newbridge and surrounding areas, and all of the
stakeholders of Kildare GAA.

As soon as the draw was made, we were in contact with
Newbridge Garda Síochána immediately and they were happy with the
fixture going ahead, their only request being that it throw in at 7pm,
given the influx of people to the area due to the Irish Derby taking place
at Curragh Racecourse at 5.15pm.

Having received the backing of the Gardai, we sent an email to the
CCCC advising them that we would have no difficulty in hosting the fixture
as an all-ticket affair and were already putting plans in place to do so.

We informed the CCCC of the advice surrounding the 7pm throw-in, and
advised them that the Management Committee of Kildare GAA, on behalf of our
loyal supporters, respectfully expected that the CCCC would fix the game
for Saturday, June 30th, at St Conleth’s Park for 7pm and we had no issue with adhering to the criteria for St Conleths Park as previously agreed with the National Facilities/Health & Safety committee

We were asked to provide an alternative venue, an invitation we declined
because Kildare are entitled to the home venue as per the draw, and were in the
position to do so within all criteria of health and safety, and to the
satisfaction of An Garda Síochána.

The Management Committee of Kildare GAA has been in constant contact with
Kildare Senior Football Manager Cian O’Neill. We are all on the same page,
adamant that the game take place in Newbridge as the draw dictates.

When notification arrived that the game was fixed for Croke Park, we
informed the CCC that we would not be fulfilling that fixture, because it
was a home draw for St Conleth’s Park.

This decision does not make sense to us, as we have already hosted
attractive Division 1 fixtures this year.

There is also the concern as to the implications were Kildare to qualify
for the so-called Super 8s series. The major selling point of this format
was that each team would have one major home fixture. Does this now mean
that we in Kildare would be denied that right, were we to qualify?

We are not attempting to do anything that contravenes health and safety
regulations. We can cater for the
fixture St Conleth’s Park and it will not cause undue congestion in Newbridge.

As the management committee of Kildare GAA, we have a responsibility to our
team management, players, supporters, sponsors, businesses and every stakeholder
in Kildare GAA to insist that we be allowed fulfil the home fixture we are
entitled to.

And we are making it clear that we will not play this game in Croke Park.
St Conleth’s Park is perfectly capable of hosting the tie on an all-ticket
basis, Newbridge is perfectly capable of dealing with the number of
supporters that will attend.

The Management Committee of Kildare GAA.

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