Thursday 31 July 2014

Joe Sheridan in row with FF rival after election flop


Mark O'Regan

Published 26/05/2014|02:30

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Former Meath footballer Joe Sheridan with Dan O'Connell, Fianna Fail director of elections for the area at the count centre in Navan. Picture: Tom Burke
Former Meath footballer Joe Sheridan with Dan O'Connell, Fianna Fail director of elections for the area at the count centre in Navan. Picture: Tom Burke

FORMER Meath footballer Joe Sheridan has become involved in a bitter post-election war of words with his Fianna Fail colleagues.

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The GAA star was embroiled in major controversy in 2010 when he scored a much-debated goal which gave Meath victory over Louth in the Leinster final. It was claimed he "rolled'' over the goal line before "throwing'' the ball into the Louth net.

Now he is convinced that some of his Fianna Fail party colleagues were engaged in some off-the-ball tactics in the run-up to the local elections.

The hugely-popular GAA man had got the nod to run in the Ashbourne area for FF. But he failed to get elected with a disappointing first count vote of 476. And he clearly blames some of his FF party colleagues for not sticking to an agreed vote management plan.

"I'm happy with my own campaign – but I can't control what other people do,'' he said.

"People have their own tactics, but I do it as fair as possible. The way we did my campaign was to try and get enough votes in the area we were given, and that's what we stuck by. But others ran their campaign any way they liked,'' he added.

However, party colleague Dr Claire O'Driscoll, who also ran in the Ashbourne area for Fianna Fail, strongly hit back at his suggestions of foul play.

"The two of us are from the same village so it was very tightly contested. There were definitely boundary discussions between myself and Joe – and the boundaries were largely adhered to,'' said the mother of two.

"There was some overlap – but we mainly stuck to our own electoral areas.

"I knocked on some doorsteps four and five times. It was constant, three times a day, every day of the week, no days off. It was a tireless effort over months. I didn't depend on anything but hard work."

Mr Sheridan insisted he decided not to change his approach to canvassing despite what he described as the "tactics'' of some other candidates.

"I wasn't going to change for no one,'' he said.

He stressed that both he and his supporters "had a great campaign'' but claims that a failure to stick to an agreed vote management strategy did become an issue.

He is "disappointed'' with the way things turned out, and insists his performance would have been much better, if an agreed vote management plan had been maintained.

Mr Sheridan was one of four GAA players who greeted Queen Elizabeth on her visit to Croke Park three years ago and has also met Michelle Obama.

His former club and county team-mate Graham Geraghty unsuccessfully stood for FG in the 2007 General Election.

Irish Independent Supplement

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