Croker to host Dubs SFC summer opener
DUBLIN footballers will open their Leinster and All-Ireland title defences in Croke Park instead of facing a trip down the country.
Leinster Council fixture chiefs have pencilled in Jim Gavin's (pictured) all-conquering Dubs as part of a quarter-final double-header early next June.
The province's CCC has drawn up proposed venues and dates for next year's Leinster championships and these will go before a full Leinster Council meeting tonight. Dublin are due to face the winners of the first round clash between Laois and Wicklow and, while the latter have no venue capable of hosting the All-Ireland champions, the prospect of a Laois/Dublin clash being moved to Portlaoise had been mooted.
However, such a switch would have inevitable financial repercussions for Leinster GAA, and The Herald has learned that the proposal is to stage Dublin versus Wicklow/Laois and Kildare versus Westmeath/Louth on the same Croker double bill.
The Sky Blue seniors haven't ventured beyond the capital for SFC combat since facing Longford in Pearse Park back in 2006, but Dublin chairman Andy Kettle insisted yesterday that they would be "prepared to go anywhere".
He recalled: "It was always felt that Longford was too small but it didn't bother Dublin. Wherever we're fixed, we'll go."
Mindful that they've a first round fence to cross, Laois haven't made an issue either about a potential trip into the champions' den.
"We haven't heard one way or the other," said Laois chairman Gerry Kavanagh. "My view is whatever way fixtures are ordained and whatever the venues are ... if we are lucky enough to get over the Wicklow hurdle, we won't be looking any further than that."