It's full steam ahead for the Gaelic Grounds in hosting next Saturday's game. Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Case for defence

GAA defend Limerick venue choice - 'We are not talking about the days of Brian Boru'

President Liam O’Neill has defended the decision to fix next Saturday’s replay for the Gaelic Grounds.

THE GAA HAVE launched a staunch defence of the decision to move next Saturday’s replay between Kerry and Mayo to the Gaelic Grounds due to the American football college game taking place in Croke Park.

GAA President Liam O’Neill insisted that the game could not have been deferred to September 6th and believes Limerick is a suitable venue.

“There was a comment made about going deep into Munster territory. We are not talking about the days of Brian Boru and that you are going into someone else’s territory and you are in danger.

“We are talking about modern society here where we go on motorways and we travel the country. The fact of the matter is that Limerick is nearer to both Mayo and Kerry. I think it is 125 miles to Castlebar, 108 miles from Kerry to Limerick.

“We have no room for movement. You couldn’t move it because we have to factor in the possibility of a replay for the second semi final. If that happened you would have a situation where the All-Ireland finalists are not known until the week of the final.”

Liam O'Neil: 'It's a huge opportunity for this to showcase our stadium' Mark_Maxwell Mark_Maxwell

O’Neill outlined the level of planning that had gone into the game between Penn State University and University of Central Florida.

“The American football game is officially announced over 18 months, planning for it has been going on for quite some time. You just can’t run a stadium like this, block out every possible replay date as a date when you can’t do activities like this. It’s a huge opportunity for this to showcase our stadium and to the economy of the Dublin region.”

The Dubs

O’Neill also refused to be drawn to speculate on what would have happened if Dublin had been in such a situation and believes the Gaelic Grounds can adequately facilitate the number of people that will be present.

“That’s a huge amount of supposition. Some people are not happy, some people are very pleased. You will have a small minority who are against and the middle people accept the decision because they know that they are made in the best interests. I am confident that when this game is over people will say wasn’t that a great idea.

“There was a crowd of 52,000 here on Sunday. Take out the corporate section of that, probably over 10,000 and you are well below the figure that is going to be in Limerick. Less people go to replays anyway. So there is no worry about that.

“It is going to be a fantastic occasion, people complain that we play too many games here (in Croke Park).  It would be great to see Limerick filled to capacity.”


Next Saturday’s game will take place in a stadium which does not have the Hawkeye score detection system installed in it but the GAA President does not forecast that being an issue.

“Hawkeye is a fantastic extra tool in our toolkit but we just can’t have it everywhere. There are games that have been played outside of Croke Park, without Hawkeye  and have been fine.

“Hawkeye was just used yesterday to confirm something that’s all. I am sure the referee’s umpires in Limerick will be able for that.”

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