Demand for seating will be key in deciding if Dublin footballers are to travel in 2017

THE DECISION ON whether to take the Dublin footballers out of Croke Park for a second successive year will be decided on 16 November with seating capacity in venues set to be a key factor in making the decision.

Dublin have been drawn to play the winners of Wexford or Carlow at the Leinster quarter-final stage. The prospect of Wexford or Carlow enjoying home advantage, or a stadium like Nowlan Park being used, has not been ruled out.

Last June, Dublin face Laois at the Kilkenny venue as they played a senior football championship match away from Croke Park fro the first time since 2006.

The meeting of the CCC in Leinster on 16 November will decide the province’s championship fixtures programme for 2017.

“It hasn’t been fully decided and it won’t be until that night,” revealed Leinster Council chairman John Horan.

“If you look at the returns from the game in Nowlan Park, 11,000 people were in seats that night.

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Leinster Council chairman John Horan (left) at the recent 2017 championship draws

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“That showed that there was a demand, but there was spare places on the terrace. So seating is in big demand and the season tickets that Dublin have is a big thing.

“Dublin have over 3,000 season tickets. Then if you think, by the time you look after the players and sponsors and whoever, how many will you have left to actually seat people?

“So the reason for Nowlan Park was seats. There was no other reason.

“It was a successful occasion (last year). I think there was a few things in it we could have tweaked.

Michael Darragh MacAuley with Dublin fans in Nowlan Park

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It clashed with Cat Laughs (comedy festival) and it was a Bank Holiday weekend.

“But all in all, anyone who was there said they enjoyed the atmosphere of the occasion.

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“I think a lot of people felt it was fair to get them out and Dublin were the happiest of all to go down there.

“I think they viewed it as a great chance to bond, just to get their championship season on the road. Nobody in Dublin had any issue with it at any stage.”

Horan acknowledged the recent fall in gate receipts but is hopeful the arrival of high-profile managers like Davy Fitzgerald and Andy McEntee in the province will increase interest.

New Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“Look, let’s be honest, Dublin have kind of stretched ahead of everybody and the competitive nature of the game Dublin are playing in, is not a big attraction.

“If you go back, in my three years as Leinster Chairman, we had 62,000 against Meath, the following year it was Westmeath, 48,000.

“Every body from Westmeath was there, but just they didn’t have the crowd potential to come. And then last year it dropped again.

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“We got caught with the Ireland soccer match when we had our double header in Croke Park. I think we managed it well, got over 40,000.

“We changed the timing of the match and I think that went well. You have to kind of juggle circumstance.

Meath football manager Andy McEntee

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“Hopefully Wexford get going with Davy, it causes excitement, the McEntees get Meath back on the road, those two things happen and I think it will spruce up the Leinster championship in football and hurling.”

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