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LGFA 'fully understand Limerick’s wish to use their own venue for training purposes'

The All-Ireland ladies football semi-final was moved from LIT Gaelic Grounds to Parnell Park earlier this week.

A general view of LIT Gaelic Grounds.
A general view of LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Updated Dec 2nd 2020, 12:00 PM

THE LGFA HAVE clarified the chain of events that saw Sunday’s All-Ireland ladies football semi-final switched from the LIT Gaelic Grounds to Parnell Park. 

The clash between Cork and Galway was fixed for Limerick, but on Monday it was announced that the tie would be played at the Dublin venue instead. 

“The semi-final was originally fixed for Semple Stadium, Thurles, on Saturday November 28, but moved to Sunday, December 6, to accommodate a few Cork dual players,” a LGFA statement read.

“The significant knock-on effect in accommodating Cork was the sourcing of a new venue for the game, and numerous other logistical implications, and the LIT Gaelic Grounds was identified as an alternative host venue.  

“The Limerick senior men’s hurling team qualified for the All-Ireland final last weekend, and Limerick GAA had informed the LGFA on Thursday last that it would no longer be in a position to facilitate our All-Ireland semi-final between Cork and Galway should they qualify for the final.  

“The LGFA wishes to categorically state that we fully understand Limerick’s wish to use their own venue for training purposes next Sunday.  

“Furthermore, we have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Limerick GAA in the past, and our 2019 All-Ireland senior club final was played at the LIT Gaelic Grounds, and we were afforded a warm welcome there, and treated very well.   

It continued: “In addition, we very much look forward to travelling to the LIT Gaelic Grounds for future games.  

“We are grateful to the Dublin county board for making Parnell Park available for next Sunday’s semi-final at short notice, and this is not the first time that a TG4 All-Ireland senior championship semi-final has been played in Dublin.”

Earlier today Limerick county chairman John Cregan has defended the decision to make their home venue unavailable at short notice. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Cregan said the LGFA were informed when the booked the LIT Gaelic Grounds that John Kiely’s panel would be given use of the venue for a training session on 6 December if Limerick reached the All-Ireland hurling final.

“The fixture was made for the LIT Gaelic Grounds on the basis that it wouldn’t be required by the Limerick senior hurling team,” said Cregan.

“That has changed since, and I think everybody was made aware at an early stage that it would have to change because we have to give priority to our senior hurlers.

“This is not just your normal training session it’s the final opportunity in daylight that our team will have prior to playing in an All-Ireland final.

“Normally a game will be played in those circumstances at the training session and it’s very important that we have the LIT Gaelic Grounds available for that to happen.”

Win or lose against Waterford, Limerick won’t be having a homecoming ceremony due to fears over the spread of Covid-19.

“We have decided on this occasion unfortunately to the disappointment of many, whether we win or lose we will not be having an official homecoming of any description and the team will go back to their families on the night,” explained Cregan.

He also said his understanding is that the Liam MacCarthy Cup won’t be released from Croke Park with the victorious team on Sunday week.

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“During the year thankfully on a couple of occasions we’ve picked up silverware winning the Allianz League and Munster championship. On each occasion the cup was but in the boot of a car basically and celebrations didn’t take place.

“The Munster cup was returned to the Munster council the day after the game. So on this occasion the cup won’t be on display.

“I understand the cup will not be released on the day by Croke Park subsequent to the presentation. While that can be disappointing for fans of course, because everybody wants to get their hands on the cup and get a picture with it, but if we were to win on this occasion that wouldn’t be happening. 

“Please God if it were to be the case later on in the year when things get back to some normality, we certainly would give the fans the opportunity to meet with the players and the cup.”

The Limerick chairman called for collective responsibility from Limerick supporters as the county bid for their second All-Ireland title in three years. 

“We are asking our supporters to give us their support by way of adhering to public health guidelines.

“We have a hugely enthusiastic supporter base that we are very proud and very appreciative of. Those supporters have stuck with us through thick and thin, through the good days and the bad days. Luckily enough for us we’ve had some good days over the past couple of years where we’ve seen huge outpourings of support. 

“On this occasion, we are very conscious of the circumstances we find ourselves in. If we cast our minds back to earlier on in the year it looked very likely we wouldn’t have an All-Ireland championship.  

“Thankfully we got that, and we got it on the basis of being able to play our games safely. The protocols that have been put in place to date have allowed for that to happen, but when we get to an All-Ireland final stage, there is huge potential for many of us to drop our guard. 

“That would increase the risk of the spread of the virus, so we are really appealing to our supporters that the best way to support us on this occasion is by enjoying the special occasion in a responsible manner.

“When we get to an All-Ireland final stage, there is huge potential for many of us to drop our guard. 

“It’s obvious to all of us that the best way to [support the team] is perhaps to make it a family day, stay with your family and enjoy the game on that basis.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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