Dublin taking football championship show on the road for first time in 10 years 5 years ago

Dublin taking football championship show on the road for first time in 10 years

The Blue Wave is moving inland.

The Leinster Council will not confirm it until after their meeting Wednesday night, but Dublin are already preparing for their first Championship away day since 2006.

Dublin county chairman Seán Shanley said the reigning Leinster and All-Ireland champions are happy to "go down the country" for the opening game of their defence in 2016 - a Leinster SFC quarter-final against the winners of Laois and Wicklow.

O'Moore Park in Portlaoise or Kilkenny's Nowlan Park are the potential venue for Dubin's first Championship foray from Croke Park in a decade.

Then it was a trip to Longford's Pearse Park for a two-point quarter-final win over their hosts that they were lucky to get.

Leinster Football Championship 4/6/2006 Longford vs Dublin An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern looks on from the stands Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

It was such an occasion it drew the leader of the country and dedicated Manchester United Dublin fan, Bertie Ahern to Longford, along with his daughter Georgina and the nose of her husband, Westlife singer Nicky Byrne.

The Dublin of today are a trophy-winning machine, who have stood on the throat of their Leinster "competitors" with the ruthless jackboot of suppression every year since then, bar one year, and should not be unduly worried by a trip outside the M50.

“Dublin certainly have no objection to it. There are obviously issues about the gate receipts and the dividends that will be available afterwards and what capacity the other stadiums have. Those are things that a lot of people don’t often think about,” said Shanley.

“But as a decision, Dublin has no problem with it. We’re happy to leave Croke Park and go down the country to wherever they send us. My understanding is that it’s going to happen for the first round, and wherever it is, it will be a great day out.

“I remember myself watching Dublin teams in places like Navan and those were great occasions. So no problems, no.”

Shanley suggests those expecting a marked regression in Dublin's performances outside Croke Park may be disappointed. Jim Gavin's men won half of their four away matches in this year's Allianz League matches - in Monaghan and Mayo. Their record in Croke Park was more impressive - winning 10 and drawing twice, against Tyrone and Mayo.

“People maybe think it will make a difference Dublin not playing at Croke Park,” he said. “And that may be a fair argument, but I don’t think it will make much of a difference. They won their fair share of league games away and I think they’re a seriously experienced group of players at this stage and they’ll cope with whatever the change is.”

Incoming Laois manager Mick Lillis had called on the Leinster Council to display some "moral courage" and put the Dubs on the road. It looks like he has got his wish, the Dubs are coming "down the country".