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GAA await safety report on Kildare ground in Newbridge

It is still unclear as to whether the Lilywhites can hold their home football league games in 2013 in St Conleth’s Park.

St Conleth's Park in Newbridge
St Conleth's Park in Newbridge
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

THE GAA HAVE yet to determine whether Kildare can hold their home games in St Conleth’s Park in Division 1 of next year’s National Football League.

The capacity of the Newbridge venue has been greatly reduced due to health and safety reasons with Kildare’s qualifier tie against Limerick last July being fixed for Portlaoise due to that issue.

Kieran McGeeney’s side have home games pencilled in for next year against Donegal, Kerry, Dublin and Tyrone but it remains unclear what will be the venue for those matches.

There is also uncertainty as to what format Dublin’s Spring Series of league in Croke Park will take next season.

Dublin’s three Division 1 football league games against Cork, Mayo and Kerry have been provisionally fixed for Saturday night billings which would suggest they will take place in Croke Park.

However the Dublin hurlers relegation to Division 1B means it is unclear as to whether Anthony Daly’s side will be playing their matches as a curtain-raiser to the county’s football side.

The game against Limerick on March 16th is the only one that is pencilled in for the same date as a football game with Jim Gavin’s side set to meet Tyrone that day.

GAA President Liam O’Neill believes they must become ‘more selective’ about the grounds that are used yet would not comment specifically on the Kildare case until he sees the safety reports commissioned on the ground.

“We know the dates (for next year’s league games) but the venues are not finalised yet. I do know that in grounds that can’t take games, we’re going to have to be more selective about grounds.

“I know they (Kildare) have home games but it’ll be up to our safety committee to make the recommendation. I haven’t seen the report on it. If necessary Coiste Bainisti and Árd Comhairle will rule.

“There’ll be no politics played in this as safety is important. We won’t make the decision until we have the full facts.”

On a wider scale, O’Neill has highlighted that financial restrictions will mean that the GAA will have to be careful in selecting what grounds they upgrade in the future. But he is determined to make grounds more ‘female and family friendly’.

“Our responsibility at central level is ensuring safety and that games go ahead in the best conditions possible. Our safety committee have met every county at this stage and talked about the figures that were given and what is safe capacity.

“We’ve a significant challenge facing us over the next number of years. The pot of money is less than it would have been. We have to carefully select what grounds we’re going to bring up to acceptable safety standards. The big push in the next number of years is to make our grounds female and family friendly.

“I think that’s our big challenge. If that means that some grounds won’t have the capacity that they would like to have, so be it. But we’ll do it in the order that our money allows us to do.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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