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Ulster football final to return to Croke Park for first time since 2006

Meanwhile, the Ulster U20 football final has been pushed back by six days following the tragic death of Monaghan captain Brendan Óg Duffy.

Croke Park can host 18,000 fans under current Covid-19 restrictions.
Croke Park can host 18,000 fans under current Covid-19 restrictions.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated Jul 19th 2021, 8:00 PM

TYRONE AND MONAGHAN’S Ulster Senior Football Championship final will be staged in Croke Park on Saturday 31 July, Ulster GAA have confirmed.

The move will allow a larger crowd than could be permitted in a provincial venue under current Covid-19 restrictions, with the Croke Park capacity set at 18,000 fans on both Saturday and Sunday last weekend.

Similar numbers will be allowed this weekend following the decision to move the Connacht football final between Mayo and Galway to Headquarters.

GAA President Larry McCarthy confirmed this morning that, as expected, the Ulster Council had lodged a request to have the game moved to Croke Park for the first time since Armagh and Donegal’s 2006 provincial decider.

In a statement released this evening, Ulster GAA confirmed the venue switch and a 4pm throw-in for the fixture on the Saturday of what is the August Bank Holiday weekend in the Republic.

It is expected that the finals of the the Christy Ring, Nickey Rackard and Lory Meagher cups will all still be played at Croke Park, the first two over the August Bank Holiday weekend in double bills with the Ulster final and the following day’s Leinster football final between Dublin and Kildare, and the third as a curtain-raiser to the following Saturday’s (7 August) first All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Munster champions Limerick and their yet-to-be-determined opponents.

The Ulster CCC also confirmed that they had accepted Monaghan’s request to postpone their Ulster U20 Football Championship final with Down following the tragic death of their captain, Brendan Óg Duffy. Instead of taking place this Saturday, that underage decider will instead be played on Friday week, 30th July, in Armagh’s Athletic Grounds (throw-in 7:30pm).

The Ulster GAA statement read: “Following a meeting of Ulster CCC this evening, it has been agreed that the 2021 Ulster Senior Football Championship Final will be played in Croke Park on Saturday 31st July at 4pm.

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“Ulster CCC also considered a request from Monaghan GAA to postpone the EirGrid Ulster Under 20 Football Championship Final, which had been scheduled for this Saturday, due to the tragic death of their team captain, Brendan Óg Duffy. Ulster CCC have acceded to this request and this game has been rescheduled for Friday 30th July, in Athletic Grounds, Armagh at 7.30pm.”

- Originally published at 11:31. Updated with confirmation of the venue switch, and the postponement of the U20 final, at 20:00.

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