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Published: 15:23 | 4/4/16

Duffy defends late Roscommon-Dublin switch

GAA director general Paraic Duffy has defended the decision to switch the Roscommon-Dublin Allianz Football League Division 1 game from Dr Hyde Park to Páirc Seán MacDiarmada.

The Hyde Park pitch was deemed playable on Saturday morning but the game was moved at 9am on Sunday morning following heavy rain the previous day.

With large numbers of Dublin supporters already on the way to Roscommon when the decision was made, coach transfers were organised to bring fans to Carrick-on-Shannon.

The timing of the decision has been criticised but Duffy has defended the Roscommon County Board for waiting in the hope of playing the game at home.

"The situation is there were concerns about the pitch during the week. The pitch was inspected on Friday evening and the pitch was absolutely playable. A lot of work had been done on it during the week and it was absolutely playable on Friday evening," Duffy explained.

"Obviously, there were concerns about the weather forecast and what might happen at the weekend. It was inspected again by an inter-county referee on Saturday and there were doubts expressed. There was water on the pitch at that stage and it would all depend on what would happen overnight. And there was consideration given at that stage to the game being changed.

"Having said that, changing the game was a big call because Roscommon, for them, it was a huge match to have the All-Ireland champions at home. They wanted to play the game at home for all kinds of reasons. The local community wanted the game played in Roscommon, etc. So there was a doubt about it on Saturday and the decision was taken to inspect it again on Sunday morning and, again, it was inspected by an inter-county referee and the thinking was, ‘okay, it rained overnight unfortunately so the pitch wasn't great on Sunday morning’.

"The feeling was that it could have been played in Roscommon if it didn't rain again but that was too big of a risk to take and the decision was taken at that stage to move it. I take the point, maybe the call could have been made sooner but from Roscommon's point of view and the people of Roscommon that was a huge call to make.”

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