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'The risk is that people will get involved with other spectators, that's the risk' - CCCC chair on Kildare backlash

Ned Quinn has cited ticketing problems and St. Conleth’s Park’s capacity as reasons for the fixture change.

The former Kilkenny County board chairman was appointed as head of the CCCC earlier this year.
The former Kilkenny County board chairman was appointed as head of the CCCC earlier this year.

THE CHAIRMAN OF the GAA’s CCCC has expressed concern that ‘animosity’ would develop between fans over tickets if St Conleth’s Park had been chosen to host Saturday’s Kildare and Mayo’s round three qualifiers clash.

Fury has erupted over Kildare not being granted home advantage for the match, prompting the county to release a statement on Monday, stating that they will not compete at the fixed venue of Croke Park.

Ned Quinn defended the decision not to play the game in Newbridge, citing health and safety concerns as well as the capacity of the 8,000 being factors in the decision.

“One could anticipate a crowd of 20,000 for this game and that there was going to be 4,000 tickets on sale between the two counties,” Quinn told Off The Ball AM on Tuesday.

“To us, it meant that we should move the game out of that venue.

“It was a possibility that people would show up seeking to get admission or buy tickets outside the ground even when they would have known that tickets weren’t available.

“The risk is that people will get involved with other spectators, that’s the risk.

“I wouldn’t describe it as crowd trouble, but there could be animosity shown to people who have tickets.

A general view of St Conleth's Park ahead of the game The Newbridge venue has a capacity of 8,000, and is not sufficient to support the demand of season ticket holders and other supporters, Quinn claims. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Quinn also highlighted Kildare’s failure to nominate other suitable venues as a reason for the fixture’s move to Croke Park, despite the venue being passed by an Garda Síochána of any health and safety issues.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, Kildare have said that they will not be at Croke Park for Saturday’s fixture. Manager Cian O’Neill appeared on RTÉ Six One news on Monday evening to confirm that his side would be in Newbridge and ready to play.

Quinn is still hopeful that the game will be played in Croke Park and defended the CCCC’s judgement on the matter. He revealed that he was surprised by Kildare’s opposition to the move.

“That would be my hope, that the game will go ahead as fixed.

“I don’t think that it’s rubber stamping it, we have a responsibility.

“Home venues shall be subject to the CCCC (judgement) that they meet the criteria laid down by the National Facilities and Health and Safety (Committee).

“I was somewhat surprised by what Kildare (said), but then you would expect a county to not be happy about a decision like that. Generally speaking a county will accept the rules of the game.”

Despite defending the decision, the former Kilkenny County board chairman acknowledged that clearer rules and regulations must be put in place in the future to avoid a repeat of the controversy.

“This could re-occur again so I think we do need to put very positive and straight rules in place that counties will know exactly when they have a home game and when they can’t have a home game.”

Quinn also confirmed that the issue is still a matter of the CCCC and not of the GAA’s hierarchy. He refused to comment on whether Mayo will be given a walkover if Kildare fail to play, whether there has been contact with Kildare or of any potential solutions to the problem.

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