Leinster 'not fair' to Dub chasers
PAT FLANAGAN (above) believes the Leinster SFC is no longer a "fair competition" because of the perennial Croke Park advantage enjoyed by Dublin.
The Offaly manager will be in Croker tomorrow for his side's NFL Division Four decider against Longford (5.15).
And he hope to get back there on May 31 for a Leinster quarter-final against the Dubs - on the proviso that Offaly overcome Longford in their May 16 SFC opener.
But according to Flanagan, the GAA is ignoring the longer-term plight of smaller county units in Leinster by staging every Dublin championship match at national HQ.
"Dublin play their league matches in Croke Park so it is actually a home venue for them. If you look at most counties' records, they win most of their home games so it's giving them an even better opportunity," he maintained.
According to Flanagan, it's not the fault of Dublin but rather officialdom. He blamed it on a "Croke Park decision" even though Leinster Council (represented by all 12 counties) is the body that has scheduled every Leinster SFC match involving Dublin for Croke Park, dating back to a trip to Longford in 2006.
"Until someone realises the damage they are doing to the so-called weaker counties, like the Offalys and Longfords and Westmeaths ... I don't think it's actually a fair competition any more," he claimed.
Meanwhile, Flanagan has played down rumours that Tomás O'Connor might declare for Offaly after leaving the Kildare panel.
"I haven't even considered the situation because it's all speculation - he may return to the Kildare panel within months," he ventured.
"Tomás O'Connor is obviously a guy that would fit into most panels in the country - but that's the long-term view, not the short-term view."