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Liam O'Neill is standing firm over replay relocation

By Declan Bogue

GAA President Liam O'Neill has ruled out any chance of an appeal from Mayo over the staging of their All-Ireland semi-final replay against Kerry in Limerick and justified the GAA's staging of an American football match next Saturday in Croke Park.

"We have no room for movement," he emphasised. "We can't move it because we have to factor in the possibility of a replay for the second semi-final.

"If that happened you would have a situation where the All-Ireland finalists aren't known until the week of the final. That's just not possible."

On the game moving to the rather novel surroundings of the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, O'Neill enthused: "It is going to be a fantastic occasion, people complain that we play too many games here at Croke Park.

"Even some of the people complaining now would belong to that group, and then when we bring it out people say all games should be here. There is a balance here and I think it's not often that this happens. It will be a wonderful occasion."

When quizzed as to whether such a situation might have occurred had Dublin been involved, he answered: "Dublin play in the second semi-final, they always play in the second semi-final. That is the case because the Leinster Championship always takes longer to run."

While the GAA are to proceed on with staging the American football colleges match between Penn State and University of Central Florida, O'Neill admitted to not quite knowing the financial benefit of this venture.

"I don't know the exact figure but as I said before there is a long term plan here that this can become a venue for major games and there is a possibility of having a major game, and we talked about this before, between Boston College and Notre Dame," he ventured.

"Games of that size would be so exciting to have here, it is fantastic for Dublin and it once again highlights the value of having a stadium like this."

He also believes that Mayo will be satisfied with the new arrangements, stating: "The history of it is that people initially question, then they accept the decision and get on with it.

"I'm sure that Mayo are long enough in the game at this level to know that it's in their best interests to get on with it and play the game and qualify for the final and hopefully, for them, end their barren spell."

The GAA will lower ticket prices for the replay. Stand tickets are reduced from €40 to €30, terrace tickets are down €5 to €20 and children can gain admission for €5.

The GAA confirmed yesterday that Barry Kelly of Westmeath will referee the All-Ireland hurling final between Kilkenny and Westmeath.

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