Aughrim ap­peal falls on deaf ears

Dubs game in Port­laoise

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

THE dream of Joule Park, Aughrim, host­ing what would be the big­gest game in re­cent his­tory had the Le­in­ster SFC quar­ter-fi­nal be­tween Wick­low and reign­ing All-Ire­land cham­pi­ons Dublin been fixed for the Gar­den County venue ap­pears all but dead to­day as last-minute ap­peals from the Wick­low County Board ap­pear to have fallen on deaf ears within Le­in­ster Coun­cil.

Ap­par­ent con­cerns over in­ef­fi­cient ca­pac­ity at the county grounds have en­sured that the fix­ture will now be played at O’Moore Park in Port­laoise on Sun­day, May 27, at 4pm, leav­ing Wick­low GAA chiefs and sup­port­ers dis­ap­pointed at a lost op­por­tu­nity to see the Dublin foot­ball wagon roll into Joule Park, Aughrim, with all the eco­nomic and PR value that fol­lows.

“Fol­low­ing our Le­in­ster Se­nior Cham­pi­onship win over Of­faly yes­ter­day, Wick­low GAA for­mally re­quested that the Wick­low v. Dublin Le­in­ster Se­nior Cham­pi­onship quar­ter-fi­nal be played in Joule Park, Aughrim,” said Wick­low GAA Chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald ear­lier this week.

“All mem­bers of Wick­low GAA are work­ing hard to de­velop, pro­mote and grow par­tic­i­pa­tion within the county, at all lev­els. The pos­si­bil­ity of wel­com­ing the reign­ing All Ire­land Se­nior Cham­pi­ons to Joule Park, Aughrim would have given a size­able boost to Wick­low GAA, our sup­port­ers and our play­ers.

“We are hugely dis­ap­pointed that this re­quest has not been con­sid­ered. We feel a sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity has been missed to pro­mote GAA in Wick­low and as­sist the hard work be­ing done at all lev­els, across all codes, in the county,” he added.

Wick­low GAA PRO Kieron Kenny pub­lished a pas­sion­ate state­ment in re­la­tion to the fix­ing of the game in Port­laoise.

“The gap be­tween these two on the field is clearly mas­sive but off the field Wick­low has many pas­sion­ate fol­low­ers and also a gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple who needed to see the best ever GAA team at first hand in Joule Park. Wick­low needs these young­sters to be in­spired, to dream that they too some­day may have a day like this in their ca­reers. Wick­low needed a Dublin to come to Joule Park,” he wrote.

A GAA crowd are big spenders and leave a size­able chunk of cash be­hind them wher­ever they go. Aughrim and sur­round­ing ar­eas would be buzzing for the week­end, the at­mos­phere cre­ated in­side and out­side the ground would be mem­o­rable. It would be in­tan­gi­ble to Wick­low GAA.

The Wick­low play­ers of to­day also de­served the re­ward of home venue, be­ing part of the first Wick­low team to face the reign­ing All-Ire­land cham­pi­ons in a cham­pi­onship game is an hon­our.

Host­ing and con­sis­tently play­ing against the best is the only way the gap be­tween the top and bot­tom will ever close. For Wick­low to be­lieve that they could some­day make the ‘Su­per 8’s’ they needed some­body to be­lieve in them,” he added.

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