Dubs back in 'second home' Dublin footballers head to Portlaoise to defend Leinster and All-Ireland crowns
DUBLIN footballers are heading back to their new ‘second home’ – Portlaoise – for the opening defence of their Leinster and All-Ireland crowns.
But it’s a different story in hurling with all four Leinster SHC games set to go ahead in Croke Park.
The Leinster Council today announced venue details for its upcoming programme of senior football and hurling fixtures, albeit against a backdrop of a worsening second coronavirus wave and increasing concerns over how this will impact on the viability of this year’s championship.
And, as widely expected, Dublin’s SFC quarter-final against Westmeath has been pencilled in for MW Hire O’Moore Park on Saturday, November 7. The match is due to be broadcast by Sky at 6.15, and the necessity for floodlights made Portlaoise the obvious venue choice.
Croke Park hasn’t staged Dublin’s championship opener since 2015. The following year they played Laois in Kilkenny’s Nowlan Park, but all subsequent provincial quarter-finals (Carlow in ’17, Wicklow in ’18 and Louth last year) were played at Laois GAA headquarters.
This year’s return trip to Portlaoise – virus permitting - will be very different given that it will be played behind closed doors, depriving the midland town of the economic boost that comes with an influx of several thousand Dubs from the capital.
Likewise, there will be no fans allowed for the first round games on November 1 when Wexford host Wicklow at Chadwicks Wexford Park, Louth and Longford travel to neutral TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar, and Offaly play Carlow at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park.
LEINSTER SHC – Sat Oct 24, quarter-final: Laois v Dublin, Croke Park (6.0 Sky). Sat Oct 31, semi-finals: Laois/Dublin v Kilkenny, Croke Park (3.45); Wexford v Galway, Croke Park (6.15 RTÉ). Sat Nov 14, final: Laois/Dublin/Kilkenny v Wexford/Galway, Croke Park (6.15 RTÉ).
LEINSTER SFC – Sun Nov 1, Rd 1: Wexford v Wicklow, Wexford Park (1.30); Offaly v Carlow, Tullamore (1.30); Louth v Longford, Mullingar (1.30). Sat Nov 7, quarter-final: Westmeath v Dublin, Portlaoise (6.15 Sky). Sun Nov 8, quarter-finals: Wexford/Wicklow v Meath, Wexford Park or Aughrim (1.30); Offaly/Carlow v Kildare, Portlaoise (5.30); Louth/Longford v Laois, Tullamore or Longford (1.30). Sat Nov 15, semi-finals: Wexford/Wicklow/Meath v Offaly/Carlow/Kildare, Croke Park (time TBC); Louth/Longford/Laois v Westmeath/Dublin, Croke Park (time TBC). Sat Nov 21, final: Croke Park (6.15 or 7.0 RTÉ).