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Lilies launch venue appeal

KILDARE have lodged an official appeal to the CCCC over placing their All-Ireland SFC fourth-round qualifier with Sligo at Hyde Park on Saturday.

For the second week in succession, the Lilies are up in arms over the venue for their backdoor match, after Croke Park withdrew their right to home advantage for the victory over Limerick, on the basis that St Conleth's Park in Newbridge was too small to cater for the expected crowd.

Now, Kildare have an issue with Hyde Park, the venue for Sligo's Connacht final defeat to Mayo and a ground in which Kieran McGeeney's men have no previous experience this year.

According to AA Roadwatch's website, Roscommon GAA's headquarters is 140 kilometres from Newbridge but lies less than 86km from Sligo Town.



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Kildare feel Breffni Park or even Pearse Park in Longford would constitute a fairer neutral venue for the match.

Last week, county board chairman John McMahon said he was "disgusted" over the CCCC's decision to fix Kildare's round three match with Limerick in O'Moore, despite being drawn first out of the hat and therefore technically entitled to home advantage.

The Kildare/Limerick match was the only one of the four in the round not to be played in the headquarters of the team drawn first.

Newbridge has a revised capacity of 8,000 after a health and safety inspection last year significantly reduced the maximum occupancy for a number of provincial grounds around the country.

A total of 11, 345 turned up to Portlaoise to attend the match.

Meanwhile, Kerry chairman Patrick O'Sullivan says beaten provincial finalists should be entitled to home advantage for this round of the qualifiers.

Both Meath and Down are facing the dreaded six-day turnaround this weekend while Kerry play beaten Munster finalists Clare in Limerick, with all matches scheduled as standalone fixtures on Saturday, despite earlier rumours of a potential Croke Park triple-header.

"If a team gets to a provincial final there should be a fallback of home advantage should they lose in it," said O'Sullivan. "It would incentivise the provincial championships further and take something away from the six day turnaround.

"Say Kerry got beaten in the Munster final -- at least they'd know their next game will be at home and they don't have to travel the country. Clare don't have a long trip next Saturday but they should be given home advantage for making the final against Cork."

All-Ireland SFC Round 4

saturday (extra-time if necessary, refs TBC) -- O'Connor Pk: Meath v Laois, 3.30; Cusack Pk: Down v Tipperary, 4.0; Dr Hyde Park: Sligo v Kildare, 6.30; Gaelic Grounds: Clare v Kerry, 7.0.