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on the road Dubs may hit the road twice this summer and face Leinster Final opponents away from Croke Park

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Stephen Cluxton is the sole survivor from Dublin’s last Leinster trip behind enemy lines in 2006. Photo: Sportsfile

Stephen Cluxton is the sole survivor from Dublin’s last Leinster trip behind enemy lines in 2006. Photo: Sportsfile

Stephen Cluxton is the sole survivor from Dublin’s last Leinster trip behind enemy lines in 2006. Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin’s footballers could hit the road twice this summer as they seek to steamroll through Leinster for the 11th consecutive year.

In the likely event that even limited crowds will not be permitted for the opening SFC rounds, Dublin’s provincial quarter-final is almost certain to be a genuine away game, and not just away from Croke Park.

And barring a shock defeat of historic proportions, their Leinster semi-final could also be switched from GAA Headquarters for the first time since 1996, when Dublin played Louth in Navan.

Skipper Stephen Cluxton is the sole survivor from Dublin’s last Leinster trip behind enemy lines, away to Longford in 2006. Their last five SFC openers, from 2016, have been at neutral provincial venues: once in Nowlan Park and four times in Portlaoise.

But if attendances are still not allowed by early July, Leinster GAA chiefs will be free to consider any venue so long as it satisfies Covid protocols and has sufficient dressing-room capacity – two per team.

This greatly increases the prospect of an away opener for Dessie Farrell’s team, while alternatives to Croke Park will also be actively considered for their probable next outing.

This could be at a neutral provincial venue but not necessarily, as there is no such stipulation for this year’s Leinster SFC. The semi-final draw won’t take place until after the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, contrary to earlier media speculation, Croke Park will not host the entire Leinster senior hurling championship.

This happened last year but the two compelling reasons for doing so last October and November – the availability of floodlights and the durability of the venue’s surface, even in winter conditions – will not apply in summer.

The Leinster Council has decided that all SHC games should be played at neutral venues. The two quarter-finals involving Wexford, Dublin, Laois and Antrim are destined for venues other than the Jones’s Road; the winners will join Kilkenny and Galway in an open draw for the semi-finals, which might also be staged outside the capital.

The one big imponderable is any relaxation in public health rules to allow socially-distant attendances, in which Croke Park would have a clear advantage because of its size.

The draws for the Leinster SFC and SHC will be held on RTÉ’s ‘Morning Ireland’ next Tuesday.

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