HomeFootballKildare’s Tailteann Cup opener against Longford limited to 1,200 fans as the...

Kildare’s Tailteann Cup opener against Longford limited to 1,200 fans as the venue is their training ground

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A general view of the Kildare GAA Centre of Excellence in Hawkfield. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

Kildare’s first Tailteann Cup game against Longford at Hawkfield on Saturday will have a capacity of just 1,200, another snapshot of how far the county’s football fortunes have fallen.

Kildare’s choice of their training ground, which has hosted their hurlers and underage teams, as the venue for the game comes after an Allianz League Division 2 campaign that took them to Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow for their home league games.

Last year, they opted to play Dublin at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny for their ‘home’ Sam Maguire Cup game before choosing O’Connor Park in Tullamore as the home venue for their second/third place play-off game.

But any ambition to draw a crowd has since waned and the county has now opted to remain within for this game. As it met the criteria for the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC), Hawkfield received approval.

The CCCC will approve a venue under a capacity of 3,500 if it’s anticipated that the expected crowd will be 80pc of the capacity, in this case 1,200. Soundings taken by the CCCC put the expected crowd within that limit.

There is some irony that the CCCC should approve the venue, given that Kildare successfully lobbied to have their 2018 qualifier game against Mayo played in St Conleth’s Park instead of Croke Park.

The Newbridge venue is currently undergoing redevelopment and is expected to open later in the year.

Meanwhile, the fixtures for the first Sam Maguire Cup round-robin games have been confirmed, with Galway hosting Derry in Pearse Stadium in Salthill at 5.30 on Saturday week.

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