'Pope's mass at Croker could affect All-Ireland final', warns Redmond
The Pope's visit to Croke Park could affect the outcome of next year's All-Ireland football final, former Dublin star Charlie Redmond has warned.
It has been confirmed that the first papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years is set to delay the showpiece match by a week.
Francis' visit, which is expected to end with a papal mass at Croke Park on August 26, means that the football final will be held on Sunday, September 2, with the hurling final going ahead on Sunday, August 19.
However, former All-Star Redmond told the Herald that if the pitch was used to accommodate people attending the papal mass, it could have an impact on the big match.
Asked if there would be a bigger clamour for tickets for the Pope's visit than for the All-Ireland final, Redmond said that was possible.
"It probably could be higher and it depends if they can use the pitch," he said.
"But do they want to use the pitch the week before the All-Ireland football final?
"It might affect the outcome, but there's more important things in life than football and hurling."
Earlier this year, Dublin manager Jim Gavin criticised the decision to hold concerts at Croke Park in the weeks leading up to the Leinster football final.
Redmond said the GAA's decision to delay the football final was the correct one and "made sense".
However, he did admit that there would be concerns in the local community at the match being rescheduled.
The All-Ireland hurling final previously took place on the first Sunday of September, with the football showpiece being played on the third weekend.
However, this was to change for next summer following alterations made to both championships in order to allow more time for club championship fixtures to take place.
"Who I'd feel sorry for are the residents in the local area, because they probably thought that they'd be finished with big events there by the end of August," Redmond said.
Meanwhile, Irish rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll has come out in support of Kerry footballer Colm Cooper, who has been criticised for hosting a testimonial dinner.
"No idea what all the hoo haa is about legend having a testimonial," O'Driscoll said online.
"If ever a man deserved to be honoured with one, this is the guy."