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.