SARSFIELDS manager John Crofton didn’t hold back in launching a scathing attack on the Kildare county board for allowing Ballymun Kickhams access to St Conleth’s Park in the build up to last Sunday’s Leinster semi-final.
The Dublin champions turned up unannounced recently at the Newbridge venue and although they weren’t allowed out on the pitch, they were allowed to familiarise themselves with the location.
“I read last week in the national papers that the great Gooch Cooper said how important home advantage is in club football at this time of year. It’s just absolutely remarkable, and such an act of betrayal really, for the officers of the county board to facilitate the opposition in what is our home venue for the club championship. It’s not in their remit to do it in the first instance, particularly having refused us kick around time on this field, not once but three or four times. It’s particularly galling that we knew it was happening, we talked to them twice, me personally, on the Thursday before it happened and two hours before it happened. If the role was reversed and we were in playing in Parnell Park and I had the liathroidí to ring their chairman and seek to familiarise ourselves with Parnell Park, when the guy finished laughing at me he’d tell me to F-off back down the carriageway. We have a different mindset here amongst our parent officers,” said Crofton.
Although the former Kildare boss was furious with the actions, he said that club would not be looking to take the matter further.
“I deliberately kept it from the players and it was absolutely not going to affect our performance today, it’s not an excuse for today, we were beaten by a more powerful and better team today. But this is our home ground, it’s not in the remit of anybody to say somebody else can come in here. It’s not an inter-county match, it’s a club game. The horse has bolted, you can’t undo what has been done, this championship is over but we know where we stand,” he said.
And it seems that Crofton had every right to be annoyed because his opposing manager Paul Curran agreed that it had been a great benefit to his team to get a viewing of the surroundings ahead of the big game.
“We just came down to have a look at the surroundings and that. We didn’t train on the pitch, we weren’t allowed but it helped. The dressing rooms here are very small, we had to split the group into two and that has its own challenge,” he said.
County board chairman John McMahon declined to comment on the matter. When asked for his thoughts, McMahon said that he hadn’t heard Crofton’s post match remarks (which could be heard on local radio station KFM) about a ‘betrayal’ of Sarsfields by the county board.
“I don’t want to discuss accusations levelled by the manager of the Kildare champions through a third party,” said McMahon.