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Kildare players won't play at Croke Park now - Emmet Bolton

Former Kildare footballer Emmet Bolton has weighed into the "mess" between the county and the GAA...

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

11:25 26 Jun 2018



Kildare players won't play...
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Kildare players won't play at Croke Park now - Emmet Bolton

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

11:25 26 Jun 2018

Former Kildare footballer Emmet Bolton has weighed into the "mess" between the county and the GAA, saying that if they decide to "go nuclear" then Kildare need to be prepared for the consequences.

The GAA yesterday announced their decision to change the venue of the third round All-Ireland qualifier from Kildare's own St Conleth's Park in Newbridge to Croke Park, ostensibly on the grounds of health and safety. The county board released a statement later in the day outlining - in part - the decision to "not play this game in Croke Park" because "St Conleth's Park is perfectly capable of hosting the tie on an all-ticket basis".

Emmet told OTB AM that the decision from the county board is one not to be taken lightly, but reiterated that the line they are currently taking is one supported by most in Kildare, under the banner "Newbridge or nowhere."

"It's a complete distraction for players [...] a resolution needs to come within 24 hours, if not today."

Emmet also believes that the approach taken by the board and manager Cian O'Neill means that Kildare's players will not be prepared to back down and play in Croke Park.

"[O'Neill] was extremely adamant in what he was saying and he spoke extremely well; he was very articulate and very calm in how he put his point across.

"Every inter-county manager will be putting itineraries together; they put monthly plans and two week plans ahead for the players, to let them know what they are doing. Rules are rules - the first team out of the hat gets home advantage.

"We've played in Newbridge to full capacity - there's nothing much, if any, in terms of health and safety issues. We played Antrim there a couple of years ago, on the day that Dermot Earley buried his father, and the capacity was 9,000 but it felt like 40,000."

Emmet gave us an insight into the levels of unity around the county in the wake of this issue.

"The feeling down here is that it's Newbridge or nowhere. We have been able to host Mayo, Monaghan and Tyrone in the league this year. There were no issues with health and safety. Everyone in the county is behind the team, the management and the county board. There's a lot of support for the county in terms of other counties and the media - which is great to see, because people have had enough now!"

"If there is a risk that you are going to go out of the Championship on this basis, you would be extremely disappointed to go out on this basis.

"It's down to Croke Park now on what they are going to do. They talk about player welfare - are you going to let a team being given a walkover? A game that you promote, an amateur game - are you going to let this happen on the basis of a pitch and where you are going to play it?

"Common sense needs to prevail here. Learn a lesson from it. Do your review, take the rap on the knuckles and move on."

All that and more on this morning's OTB AM, and as usual you can get your comments and thoughts into us on Facebook by following Off The Ball.

You can watch OTB AM from 7:45 every weekday morning on our Facebook, YouTube and Periscope channels. If you would like to see more sporting videos, like and subscribe any of our pages or log onto offtheball.com.


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