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GAA have 'learned lessons' from Kildare fall-out and Newbridge can host Super 8s game

GAA president John Horan also said he wants to keep Croke Park for GAA-only activities during July and August in the future.

GAA PRESIDENT JOHN Horan has confirmed that any county that qualifies for the Super 8s next month will have a home game, regardless of their venue size.

John Horan Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Horan, speaking on Morning Ireland after the draw for the round 4 of the All-Ireland SFC was made, added that Kildare will play their home game at Newbridge if they beat Fermanagh to make the last eight.

“It is in rule that each team in the Super 8s get a home game and that will be stood over,” Horan said. “It was agreed at Congress and we won’t be going back on that.”

A stand-off took place between the GAA and Kildare last week, with the Lilywhites insisting that they would only fulfil their round 3 qualifier against Mayo if it was played in St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge.

The GAA eventually reversed their decision to fix the game for Croke Park and home advantage proved pivotal as Kildare enjoyed a famous 0-21 to 0-19 win over Mayo. The Dublin native said the Association would learn from its mistakes after the fallout.

“I’m sorry that such a situation did develop, that one of our national committees locked horns with one of our county boards,” said Horan.

“But look, at the end of the day we did find a resolution, the game went ahead and I think we will have learned lessons from that going forward, I think we’ll be better for the experience.”

Mayo fans after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Horan also stated that he intends on keeping Croke Park for just GAA activities during July and August in future. Next Sunday’s Leinster hurling final replay will take place in Thurles as Croke Park is unavailable due to a Michael Buble concert taking place there on Saturday night.

“In fairness, both Kilkenny and Galway are quite happy to play the game in Thurles. So Thurles isn’t an issue. Unfortunately, plans are made way in advance in terms of signing contracts for concerts.

“But it’s certainly something I want to change, that the months of July and August will have no non-GAA hurling or football events taking place in Croke Park. Going forward I’d like to see that change.”

Horan rejected claims that the GAA has lost touch with its grassroots and has become an elitist organisation.

“I’m quite confused and I often feel it’s a bit lazy to throw such a term out at Croke Park because are we distinguishing between our national committees which are made up of people who are from the clubs and county boards or are we referring to the staff that we have in Croke Park?

“The vast majority of them are all involved in GAA clubs and they work as officers within our clubs so in both those situations I think we are well connected to the grassroots within the organisation. One topic you could throw out is do we go for full attendance at matches or do we cater for everybody who wants to go by changing the actual venue?

“That’s just one point. Which do we do? I think no matter which we pick in that argument we’re also going to come in for criticisms. I’d reject that Croke Park has lost touch with the grassroots.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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