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Splitting Dublin would be catastrophic for GAA, insists county chief

John Costello has responded to calls from the likes of Colm O’Rourke to split the capital.

Dublin fans celebrate another All-Ireland as they leave Hill 16 last September.
Dublin fans celebrate another All-Ireland as they leave Hill 16 last September.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

LIFFEYSIDE GAA CHIEF John Costello says the GAA needs ‘a strong and united’ Dublin.

Costello responds, in his annual report, to calls from the likes of Colm O’Rourke to split the county for the good of the Association.

“A number of influential media commentators have resurrected the ’divide Dublin’ debate in recent times, most notably Colm O’Rourke who advocated such a move when writing in the Sunday Independent last February,” he writes.

“Since then, of course, Dublin have added another senior All-Ireland – a second in three seasons – adding to our recent successes at minor and U21 level. Doubtless, this will fuel a fresh onslaught from the ‘split’ brigade … conveniently forgetting the fact that just one SFC title (in ’95) had been achieved over the 26-year period between 1984 and 2010.

“Moreover, to cite population as a reason to break up the county is another red herring. Yes, we have enjoyed great success over the past decade in pushing up juvenile participation rates, identifying our potential future stars and exposing them to improved coaching etc. But the key question is whether we should now be punished for doing so? Besides, there are still large swathes of the city where Gaelic football is seen as the ‘foreign’ sport.

“Our best chance of spreading the GAA gospel in these areas is through the Dublin senior team. Would, for example, Team Fingal or Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown have the same magnetic pull?”

Costello also argues that splitting Dublin would have a damaging effect on the wider Association.

“Finally, never mind how such a change would affect us, how would the rest of the country fare in this supposedly brave new world?” he asks.  ”In terms of gate receipts, TV deals and championship sponsorships, the financial consequences would be severe for Croke Park and be potentially catastrophic for the Leinster Council. The Dublin brand sells so we should be careful what we wish for.”

What do you think?

– First posted 15.52

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