GAA Football

Off the Fence: Final destination of McKenna Cup has readers on road to ruin

Newry's Páirc Esler has proved an unpopular destination among some readers for Saturday night's Dr McKenna Cup final
Neil Loughran

I DON’T know about you, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Newry. Been to a few good weddings there, watched more than a few decent football games and stopped for a chicken burger and a superchip many times on my way back from Croke Park.

Newry ticks a few boxes in my book, but unfortunately that love is not shared by some disgruntled would-be attendees at tomorrow night’s Dr McKenna Cup at Pairc Esler.

Considering the participants are Derry and defending champions Tyrone, it does seem an unusual ‘neutral’ venue for the cross-Sperrin rivals to do battle. ‘Benny’ takes up the case.

“What an awful choice of venue for McKenna Cup final,” he said.

“A 200-mile round trip for some Derry and Tyrone supporters. Can you imagine Down playing Armagh in Celtic Park in Derry?

“Surely a better venue could be found for a Saturday night game.”


‘CHRISTOIR from An Omaigh’ also felt moved to get in touch.

“How much thought did the Ulster Council put into the selection of the venue for the McKenna Cup final - not a lot I would venture, all of two minutes by the looks of things.

“I for one will be voting with my feet. First McKenna Cup final I will be missing in six years.”

Armagh would have been the logical venue, considering it hosted the same two counties in last year’s decider. However, as the Ulster Council stated earlier this week, the Athletic Grounds plays host to two All-Ireland club semi-finals on Sunday and they wanted to make sure the pitch in the best condition possible for those games.


‘DERMOT Spollen’ has hit Off The Fence with a double whammy, feeling moved to send not just one email, but two.

Irish News columnist and former Down player Danny Hughes should be well used to taking hits from Armagh men, so he won’t mind one more for the craic.

‘Dermot’ said: “Like Danny Hughes I am a big Liverpool fan - bigger than Danny I'd say - and a lifelong Armagh fan to boot.

“We have had more false dawns than enough with both teams over the years. Danny has said Liverpool will eventually win the Premier League. I cannot see how he comes to that conclusion.

“In the summer it's speculated Manchester United and Manchester City will spend £250 million each and are linked to every top star going. The same with Chelsea, who it's said have £200 million to spend.

“With Liverpool having a transfer budget of £40 million, there is absolutely no chance of us closing the gap and winning the Premier League unless we get new investment from wealthy owners who will spend big.”


WITH the dust just settling on his keyboard after hitting send on that one, ‘Dermot’ was back for more.

“It's time to finally scrap the GAA interpros,” he wrote.

“People have been voting with their feet for years, they are just not interested. No matter how much tweaking you do, it won't work.”


AND finally, ‘Saffron’ has taken issue with the staging of Antrim footballers’ games in Glenavy.

“I think Antrim and The Irish News need to clarify earlier where Antrim`s home games are actually taking place,” he said.

“In the week leading up to home games, I read Corrigan Park and Glenavy on different days (whoops, apologies)

“How does one get from Glenavy back to Belfast after a game via public transport? There are no trains and the last bus leaves at 14:35.”

I’ve done a bit of detective work for you ‘Saffron’. A taxi from Glenavy to the centre of Belfast (I used the Irish News offices as a destination) will cost you the princely sum of £22.28 according to my source.

Convince three mates to jump in with you, just over a fiver a touch, and you’ll still have change for a burger on the way home.

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