Wee won’t give Louth ad­van­tage

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - GAELIC GAMES - BY PAT NOLAN

LE­IN­STER Coun­cil chair­man Jim Bol­ger has shot down any prospect of Louth host­ing Dublin in next year’s Cham­pi­onship.

How­ever, Wex­ford would be in line to stage the open­ing game of Dublin’s five-in-a-row bid if they win the Le­in­ster SFC first round pair­ing be­tween them­selves and Louth.

Wex­ford Park is one of four grounds in Le­in­ster, along with Bord Na Mona O’con­nor Park, O’moore Park and Nowlan Park, that is deemed ca­pa­ble of host­ing a Cham­pi­onship game in­volv­ing Dublin if, as ex­pected, the provin­cial body opts to stage the cham­pi­ons’ opener out­side of Croke Park for the fourth year run­ning.

Bol­ger said it’s “highly likely” that will hap­pen but said there’s no prospect of the Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda, prob­a­bly the poor­est county ground in the coun­try, play­ing host to a pos­si­ble Louth-dublin tie.

The Le­in­ster Coun­cil was crit­i­cised this year for plac­ing the Wick­low­dublin game in Port­laoise in­stead of the min­nows’ home in Aughrim.

“We’ve de­cided that al­ready as a coun­cil and ev­ery­body is fully in the pic­ture in that re­gard and they were last year as well,” said Bol­ger in re­la­tion to the four venues. “We’ll de­cide that now in about four weeks’ time at our next coun­cil meet­ing.

“We’ll look at all an­gles and if there’s a need for a dou­ble header or what­ever the case may be.”

An in­abil­ity to host Dublin next year may give Louth ex­tra im­pe­tus with plans for a 12,000 ca­pac­ity ground at DKIT, which were re­cently un­veiled.

Bol­ger con­tin­ued: “Drogheda was on the cards for a long time. Ear­lier in the year they de­cided that it wasn’t go­ing to be a vi­able op­tion for them.

“In fair­ness to Louth, they’re af­ter com­ing back very quickly with a pro­posal for Dun­dalk and that’s in its in­fancy now but it’s a pos­i­tive step for them as well so hope­fully that will work out for Louth long-term.”

Mean­while, de­spite at­ten­dances in the Le­in­ster SFC dwin­dling given Dublin’s dom­i­nance, Bol­ger said there was no call for mov­ing Le­in­ster semi­fi­nals away from Jones’ Road.

“It’s a great venue.. play­ers will al­ways jump at the op­por­tu­nity to run out in Croke Park,” he added.

FIT FOR DUBS In­no­vate Wex­ford Park

DRAW Jim Bol­ger with John Maughan

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