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Leinster chairperson signals that provincial semi-finals could be moved out of Croke Park


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Writing in the match programme for today’s Leinster SFC final between Dublin and Louth, Kent described the relative lack of public support for this year’s matches as a “red flag”.

And he promised that this will lead to a review of admission fees, match scheduling – and venue choices.

Without referencing specific matches, his comments suggest that the Leinster Council will take a look at whether Dublin fixtures before the provincial final should be moved to provincial locations.

In a break from recent tradition, Dublin’s quarter-final clash against Meath this year was staged in Croke Park – but just 21,445 turned up for the clash of Leinster’s traditional heavyweights.

Even more worryingly, the semi-final attendance for the Louth/Kildare and Dublin/Offaly double-header was 21,957.

Moreover, GAA headquarters was still semi-deserted shortly before throw-in for today’s decider as Dublin went in search of a record 14th consecutive title.

Against this backdrop, Kent wrote in today’s programme: “Earlier this year we had great support from both players and the media in launching our Leinster championships, great credit to every player for their attendance in their county colours and their desire to win a Leinster provincial medal was quite evident, the championships were certainly ‘alive and kicking’ with the players.

“However, the championship wasn’t alive and kicking with supporters as they did not have the same desire to attend our games, and certainly it has raised a red flag for the province going forward.

“We will certainly review the admission fees, the scheduling and our venues from the early rounds to the provincial finals.

“However, there is a wider issue: a decade ago we played 20pc less games in a timeframe of 20pc more time, in engineering terms we are trying to fit a 4” shaft in a 2” hole and causing friction.”

The Wexford official went on: “We are currently playing on average over 15 games per week excluding U-17 and U-20. So many games in a shortened timeframe is hindering the promotion of our games, administrators, officials, volunteers, players, supporters, medics and our media platforms are at their limits with our scheduling.

“It’s going to take 20:20 vision from all the stakeholders to find a solution that will accommodate everyone within reason,” he concluded.

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