Sunday 24 March 2019

'Hill' set to go on tour

Top voice: Leinster chairman Jim Bolger
Top voice: Leinster chairman Jim Bolger

'Hill 16' will go on tour for a third summer running following confirmation that Dublin's opening Leinster SFC defence will definitely be played at a provincial venue.

All that remains to be decided is whether their quarter-final - now confirmed for Sunday, May 27 - will take place in Tullamore or Portlaoise.

If Offaly beat Wicklow in their first round clash, they will enjoy home advantage in O'Connor Park against Jim Gavin's All-Ireland champions.

But if John Evans masterminds an ambush of the Faithful on May 13, his Wicklow charges will face the Dubs in O'Moore Park as Aughrim was never in the running from a capacity perspective.

The venue decision was finalised by the Leinster CCC on Monday night.

Leinster chairman Jim Bolger told The Herald that they initially considered three venues - Nowlan Park was another option - but they were "satisfied" that Tullamore could accommodate the fixture.


This represents a strengthening policy shift away from the previous Leinster trend of hosting all Dublin football fixtures in Croke Park. Following their June 2006 trip to Longford, they didn't play a solitary SFC game outside the capital for a decade until their 2016 meeting with Laois in Nowlan Park, followed by last year's opener against Carlow in Portlaoise.

If Offaly live up their favourites' billing against Wicklow, it promises to be an ultra-busy weekend for their county grounds. O'Connor Park will host a double-header on Saturday, May 26, with Westmeath footballers facing Laois or Wexford (5pm) followed by the hurling clash of Offaly and Wexford (7pm).

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