Kildare manager Cian O’Neill feels there will be "long-standing implications" for the GAA if they don’t change their stance on the venue for Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier with Mayo, describing their health and safety reference as "a convenient untruth".

A day after Kildare GAA released a statement to say St Conleth's Park is their choice of venue, while the GAA insist the game will be in Croke Park, O’Neill repeated his view that the argument from the association does not add up and they will not budge.

The GAA said that "health and safety has to come first", a logic the Lilywhite boss strongly denies is reasonable. 

He told Kildare FM: "I think we need to hold firm on this and be strong on our resolve. I don’t want this to be viewed as a threat or the term collision course is being used. That’s not how we’re viewing this. All we want is due process to take place for our players.

"If you have a stadium with a capacity of ours, you offer an all-ticket game, accommodate all season ticket holders, and then a public sale for the remainder. Then we go and play football. I know that means that some people that want to go may not get a ticket. But that is same for Taylor Swift in Croke Park, a Leinster final, an All-Ireland football final.

"Everyone cannot go to every match. We earned the right by beating Derry in Derry, Longford in Longford, [being drawn at home]. So how can it be health and safety? It’s a convenient untruth. They want to take [our home advantage] because it’s a convenience for them. We’re not having that."

The Kildare boss added that Kildare’s stance is based on giving his players the chance to be the best they can and benefit from playing in their home environment.


"Why would a team who have home venue against a second or third seeded team in the country opt to play a game somewhere other than their home ground when you have rightfully being awarded it. It absolutely makes no sense. Why are we being asked to compromise?

"The players are the guys that fought tooth and nail to get us back into this Championship. Now we’re back on track and they are asking us to compromise. The big question here is why is this happening and I haven’t heard any logical or rational reason from Croke Park as to why this is happening. If they say to accommodate more supporters, that’s a financial reason.  

"We’re here to play football. We’re not here to look at what the finance are in the GAA. Unless there is any other reason why St Conleth's Park is not suitable, then it shouldn't be entertained. This is a football competition. Not a financial report.

"If they don't see the error, I think there will be long-standing implications for the organisation.

"I really would worry for the integrity of any organisation that starts to compromise on rule and regulations that were passed at Congress, and then tweak them as they go along because it suits their narrative, I would really worry about that as an organisation."