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GAA turn down Curragh's request to move Kildare and Tyrone qualifier at Newbridge

‘It’s just an unfortunate clash as they are both important events,’ Curragh boss Derek McGrath said.

A general view of The Curragh.
A general view of The Curragh.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE GAA HAVE turned down a request from The Curragh Racecourse to move Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC qualifier clash between Kildare and Tyrone. 

The Lilywhites welcome last year’s All-Ireland finalists to St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge at 5pm, and that clashes with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

20 minutes later and less than five kilometers away, the Derby race kicks off. While there are concerns that the clash will impact on attendances there, there is also worry that the volume of traffic on the M7 — on which roadworks continue — may wreak havoc for racegoers.

Curragh boss Derek McGrath shared those fears with The Racing Post, saying he respects the GAA’s decision but is disappointed with the lack of reaction to their request.

“Certainly it’s disappointing for the Derby itself given the proximity of both events,” he said.

“An approach was made to the GAA but we have to respect the fact it has a lot of matches on during the weekend and it has to make decisions in the best interest of its own sport.

“It’s just an unfortunate clash as they are both important events. Unfortunately the GAA weren’t able to meet our requests.

“A request was made that the match be played later or on another day but that was denied and we have to respect that. We’re still looking forward to a great three days of racing.”

He added, when asked if the match — a Sky Sports double-header alongside Mayo-Armagh — would put a major dent on the crowd:

“It’s not the first time [there's been a clash]. Particularly around this time of year we come up against a lot of events and we have to promote our own event as best we can.

“We know we have a very important weekend for Irish racing ahead of us and I think that will attract a lot of people.”

Last year, the Derby collided with Kildare’s famous ‘Newbridge or Nowhere’ qualifier win over Mayo. Latrobe, trained by Joseph O’Brien, triumphed on that occasion. 

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Emma Duffy

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