Following Mayo's footballers

Back to Croke Park for league opener against Kildare?

Mayo All-Ireland final 2013

The Leinster Leader is reporting today that negotiations are currently taking place between ourselves, Kildare and Croke Park aimed at shifting our opening league fixture for next year against the Lilywhites from St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge to the more salubrious surroundings of Croke Park. The match is currently scheduled to take place at the Kildare venue on the afternoon of Sunday, 2nd February but if it’s shifted to HQ then it would obviously make sense to add it to the card the previous evening, as the warm-up act for the Dublin-Kerry match.

That report stresses that nothing is has been agreed so far and that a decision on the proposed switch is expected to be made “in the coming days”. Terry Reilly of the Irish Examiner has, meanwhile, tweeted this evening that “there’s no truth in it at all … yet” which seems to hint that there could well be before too long.

Although such a move would undoubtedly provoke a fair bit of caterwauling amongst the Short Grass County faithful, there’s a fair bit of logic – as well as precedent – for it. As well as being a bit of a dilapidated kip, St Conleth’s Park has a capacity of just over 6,000 – most of them standing – so it would make sense to move the fixture to a bigger ground. The only realistic alternative location (seeing as there isn’t any other venue in Kildare that could host it) is Croke Park, where Kildare played their opening Division One game this February, also as part of a double-header involving the Dubs.

If the match is moved to Croke Park, then it’s obviously a win-win outcome for us. The more matches we get to play at HQ the better – we’ve another Croke Park trip, to play Dublin, in the diary for late March next year – and it’d be great to be back there at the earliest possible opportunity next year. Back on the bike and all that.

Comments

  1. mayo mchale says:

    Croke Park – the name alone makes me shiver. Must bring a hip flask next time……

  2. Sean burke says:

    No problem with it if it’s a double bill and like you say is the obvious but if it were a stand alone on the Sunday it would be just plain daft.

  3. mayomagic says:

    Wasn’t there also talk about Dublin playing there home league games in Parnell park? if St Conleth’s Park is deemed not big enough Kildare may choose somewhere like O’Moore Park or O’Connor Park.

  4. MO2013 says:

    This summer there was close to 8,000 at the Tyrone v Kildare championship game in Conleth’s Park and it wasn’t close to full. Clearly Kildare have other reasons for trying move this fixture to Croker.

  5. 45 says:

    There are a number of benefits for us if this change of venue to Croker goes ahead:
    1. St. Conleth’s Park is a very tight pitch which would advantage those all brawn no brain lillie’s. The wider spaces of Croke Park would allow our lads to play ball and get a proper run at them.
    2. A damn good workout for the players for the first week in February having to run their socks off for 70mins on the big pitch.
    3. A great opportunity to give some of our younger/less experienced lads some very valuable game time at HQ.
    4. Allows the panel as a whole to blow off the cobwebs and put the disappointment of last Sept behind them.
    5. Good preparation for the Dublin game in March and hopefully the many more games at HQ that will follow later in the year.

  6. Sean burke says:

    8th of June is th date for v Roscommon.

  7. cat says:

    good idea would love to see the dubs beat kerry and i hope they give some of the minor lads a chance

  8. mayo.mick says:

    Our match with Kildare is down on the master fixtures list for Sunday 2nd February. Surely they would have had these negotiatians before now? I wouldn’t mind if it was on a Sunday, but another Saturday night would be extra expense on us, we have enough travelling to do next year!!

    • AndyD says:

      It does not seem to me to make much difference whether we play Kildare in Croker or Newbridge as far as cost goes, possibly easier to get to Dublin and I’m sure that for some younger supporters making a week end of it in Dublin would be easier.
      There may have been at least 8,000 in Newbridge a year or two ago but last summer a safety audit tightened up on capacities. Remember Hyde Park lost out on ability to host Connacht Finals. A key issue now is ability to get the crowd in quickly if there is a late rush as well as getting them out quickly in case of emergency.
      I agree that playing as many games in Croker is to our benefit as almost all those which really matter are played there.
      Dublin and to a lesser extent Leinster generally are getting away on the cheap being able to play all crowd pulling games in Croker – they have not had the expense of providing stadia themselves while making no greater contribution to Croke Park than other counties. I have always understood that it takes 30,000 to make opening Croke Park a viable stand alone enterprise from the grounds management point of view. [Standard ground rent]. I wonder do those who use it for smaller crowds pay the extra expense? This on top of having much greater experience in playing there.

      • MO2013 says:

        Safety audit has been in place since 2012 St Conleth’s Park use to hold close to 14,000. Hyde park had over 20,000 at the 2011,2012 Connacht finals and those games weren’t full either, now apparently it can only hold 18,000.

  9. MayoMark says:

    Great, more money to spend.

  10. mayo mchale says:

    Congratulations to Carnacon – All Ireland Senior Ladies Club Champions…..

  11. Grainne Uaile says:

    I see the Gooch was sent off in the Munster Final. Was it a straight red and, if so, does that mean he will miss the semi final against the Mitchels?

  12. eamon higgins says:

    are ye all mad saying its great to play kildare on a saturday night in dublin? instead of a day trip to newbridge we have an overnighter in dublin ,this is plain madness and anybody who thinks this is a good idea is plain daft.

    • mayo mchale says:

      But eamon just think of the fun you could have, meeting up with all those Dublin guys again – sure the crack could be mighty :)

      • David says:

        A good runout in Croker is always good for players and a night in Dublin is always good too.
        There’s just no pleasing some folk

    • AndyD says:

      If the game is a curtain raiser to a Dubs game at 5.30 / 6 pm it would be reachable from all parts of Mayo without the need for an overnight stay. AA gives Dublin to Belmullet at 4 hours 43 and I find that they are quite generous with advised times.
      It might not be everybody’s cup of tea but I;m sure it would suit as many as it would inconvenience.
      And if you’re not gay the crack with the girls could be even better!!!

  13. rober says:

    Just saw the inter county fixture list for 2014. Starts for Mayo in the FBD league and could go all the way to end of September. That is 9 months potentially for the inter county season for Mayo and nine months when their clubs wont see them on the training pitch. Club leagues now a joke as county stars dont bother playing, some dont even bother playing their club championship games, they are on the pitch but not playing. Simple solution to all this, inter county season 6 months, club season 6 months. Let the inter county decide whether hey have the first half or the second half, even alternate year by year. How comes it takes from may 4 to July 22 (3 months) to play the Connacht championship next year?

    • MayoMark says:

      Always absolutely loved the NFL schedule.

      Scrap all the competitions bar the championship. And start to make it interesting. I don’t buy this nonsense of giving smaller teams the chance to win something, as they never do anyways (apart from very rare occasions).

      32 teams, 2 “conferences”, 4 divisions of 4 teams in each conference. You play the 3 teams in your own division home and away, which is 6 games, and the rest of the games are against other conference teams with 2 fixtures against other conference teams (based on how you did the year before. Mayo v Dublin would be one game, for example.)

      Done on a win-loss basis. The team with the best win-loss record in the conference is first seed, so they are guaranteed home games in the “All-Ireland Series”. 6 teams qualify from each conference to their respective playoff. 4 division winners, and two with the best win-loss record left from the rest (known as wildcards). The first seed and second seed go straight to the conference semi-final, both having home advantage. The wildcard teams will play a quarter-final away from home against the remaining division winners.

      Then that progresses to the final of both conference championships. A Western and Eastern final maybe.

      Both champions then meet in the All-Ireland Final.

      16 games minimum per inter county season. 19, for the finalists.

      Imagine, the Western Final, under lights on a Saturday night in McHale Park, Mayo v Kerry to reach the All-Ireland Final…

      I think, genuinely, the above structure would be way, way better and would serve the players better also, who are going through a long, drawn-out season.

      For fixtures, in the above structure, weaker teams get easier fixtures. So, for example, you finish 4th in the division, your 2 games against teams from the other conference will be against a 4th placed team also. And if you win the All-Ireland, you will face a more difficult fixture list.

      In my opinion, it’s the best structure of any competition out there. It’s exciting, meaningful from start to finish with teams fighting tooth and nail for A). First seed and home advantage and )B. a wildcard spot.

      • MayoMark says:

        Example of some fixtures throughout the above season for a Western Conference could be

        Mayo v Galway
        Mayo v Kerry
        Mayo v Donegal
        Mayo v Cork

        You could face tough away games in Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath, Fermanagh…

        It would be a hard, exciting season with absolutely nothing guaranteed. It leaves the season wide open for shock results. The NFL, for example, has not been won by a favourite in I don’t know how long. Teams come out of the blue to win it. Wildcards seem to always win it!

  14. johno mo on tour 1963 says:

    And no sathurday nite game in the big white elephant with lights and when you see some of the countys that are togging out on sat.nites it makes a bigger joke of it all together……fecking priceless and the debt they got themselfs into

  15. CoveyInDublin says:

    Some valid points there 45. A lot of posts are talking about the expense of a Saturday night trip to Dublin and these are fair issues, however I do think some game time in Croker is valuable, our players should know every inch of that ground in preparation of the Summer. Plus, I am sure a lot of the Dublin based Mayo supporters (like myself) would love a Saturday night match in Croker. Either way, no matter where its played it has to be won and in fairness the decision should be Kildare’s to make. Congrats to Carnacon, great to hear Mayo teams progressing through the Winter.

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