A GAA appeals committee last night (Monday) rejected a Kildare objection to its All Ireland senior football qualifier match with Sligo being fixed for Roscommon.
Kildare sought to have province-neutral venues in Clones or Cavan town consider for the match but this was turned down.Hunting Ground
When Sligo last met Kildare the venue was in Leinster, when Sligo won a famous victory in Croke Park in 2001.
The previous 'big' contest between the two counties was as far back as 1968, when the Lilywhites won a National League semi final against Sligo.
The Dr Hyde venue in Roscommon town has not been the happiest of hunting grounds for Sligo. It has lost two Connacht Finals there, in 2010 and 2012. The pitch is also bigger than Croke Park.
The winners this weekend will go into the last eight of the All Ireland, joining counties like Cork, Dublin, Donegal and Mayo.Neutral Venues
The Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) were not willing to switch the game to Clones or Breffni Park in Cavan, despite both venues being geographically more neutral.
“We made a query about the distance to travel but it will not be changed,” confirmed Kathleen O’Neill, the Kildare County Board secretary. The CCCC, having considered a double or even triple header in Croke Park on Saturday, decided to leave the football qualifiers as stand alone games at neutral provincial venues.
The last round of qualifiers are usually fixed for neutral venues, and Clones or Cavan's Kingspan Breffni Park -- a venue that Lilywhites fans have already travelled to in huge numbers this summer for their win over the Breffni men -- are believed to have been the preferred venues of Kildare officials.
However, Kildare supporters have to make the trip west to Roscommon, where Sligo played their Connacht final defeat to Mayo.Saturday fixtures;
Meath v Laois, O’Connor Park, Tullamore (capacity: 20,000), 3.30pm – Live RTÉ 1
Down v Tipperary, Cusack Park, Mullingar (capacity: 15,000), 4pm
Sligo v Kildare, Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon (capacity: 30,000), 6.30pm
Clare v Kerry, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick (capacity: 49,500), 7pm.