Hopes for the Spring Series take a big blow
THE staging of the 2014 Spring Series is under renewed threat after next year's proposed hurling league fixtures were released by Croke Park.
Anthony Daly's Dublin team have been handed just two home ties, against his native Clare on Sunday, February 23 and Kilkenny on Saturday, March 15 and with the county's footballers idle on the former weekend and away to Derry on the latter, there is no opportunity to host both teams on the same billing.
This year, an average of 19,082 attended five Spring Series nights in comparison with 31,526 the year before, with the fact that their home defeat by Limerick constituted the Dublin hurlers only involvement subsequently cited as contributing to the sizable reduction.
As it stands, Dublin will play both of their home hurling fixtures in Parnell Park and though the wish of the county board is to host the footballers in Croke Park for their four home ties against Kerry, Cork, Kildare and Mayo, county chairman Andy Kettle insisted "the economics of the situation" may force them back to Donnycarney.
Yet even the smallest attendance in four years of the Spring Series, the 10,825 who saw Dublin beat Down this year, would constitute too large a crowd for Parnell Park.
"Whether we can negotiate on this, I don't know," Kettle admitted. "As it stands, it would make it very difficult to go ahead with the Spring Series. Of course it's disappointing. Ideally, we would have preferred an eight-team Division 1 in hurling but the decision was made."
Meanwhile, plans to host Dublin's Allianz Football League Division 1 clash with Kildare on a Friday night have been quashed by the Lilywhites.
The match had been provisionally fixed for Friday, March 7 at 8.0pm but Kildare have objected on the grounds that their players, management and supporters would have insufficient travelling time.
It's the second time in two seasons the possibility of a Dublin/Kildare League match was mooted for a Friday night only to be rejected by Kildare.
Dublin's proposed 2014 Allianz Hurling League Division 1A schedule:
Sunday, February 16
2.0: Galway v Dublin, Pearse Stadium
Sunday, February 23
2.0: Dublin v Clare, Parnell Park
Sunday, March 9
2.0: Waterford v Dublin, Walsh Park
Saturday, March 15
7.0: Dublin v Kilkenny, Parnell Park
Sunday, March 23
3.0: Tipperary v Dublin, Thurles