Lilies to take on Dublin and Donegal in Croker

DESPITE assurances from the very top that all of Kildare’s Allianz NFL home games would be played at St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, the Leinster Leader understands that, as this paper predicated when the fixtures were made public, both Kildare’s opening game (versus Donegal) and their game against Dublin, both ‘home’ games for Kildare will be played in Croke Park in 2013, writes Tommy Callaghan.

DESPITE assurances from the very top that all of Kildare’s Allianz NFL home games would be played at St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, the Leinster Leader understands that, as this paper predicated when the fixtures were made public, both Kildare’s opening game (versus Donegal) and their game against Dublin, both ‘home’ games for Kildare will be played in Croke Park in 2013, writes Tommy Callaghan.

It is understood that intense negotiations have taken place as recently as last week and an offer has been put to Kildare, that simply is too good to turn down.

The offer, understood to be in the region of e60,000 to e70,000 will allow the Kildare County Board to upgrade St Conleth’s Park to the required health and safety regulations and also increase the capacity to something in the region of 8,500 to 9,000.

Croke Park, and not the Dublin County Board as happened last season, are conducting the negotiations with Kildare and it would seem they are extremely anxious to continue to promote what has become known as the ‘Spring Series’ for Dublin’s home league games, and with the capacity levels at Parnell Park at around 7,000, Croke Park is the only alternative venue.

However, it would take a double header to make the opening of headquarters a viable proposition, thus the offer to Kildare will make that possible plus give the necessary finance to bring St Conleth’s Park up to standard.

While no definite decision has been take as of yet, there is little doubt that Kildare will play those two games at Croker while their other two home games against Kerry and Tyrone will go ahead as planned in Newbridge.

Kildare are back in Division 1 of the Allianz Football League in 2013 and giving up two vital home games against such attractive opposition as All Ireland champions Donegal and Dublin will certainly not help their cause to retain Division 1 status in such a competitive league.

On the other hand with money so scarce and a big debt to be furnished the financial arrangements the offer for moving these two games is simply too good to turn down.

Kildare fans, of course, will not be over enamoured with the prospect of having to travel to Croke Park for two of their home National Football Leagues games but on the flip side if it means bringing St Conleth’s Park up to the required level it will guarantee that once work is completed the problem of Kildare holding big games in the future will not be an issue.