Monday 26 September 2016

Meath agree to replay as bookmakers pull plug on minor betting

Michael Verney

Published 09/06/2016 | 02:30

The GAA confirmed on Tuesday that the re-fixture would be played in Páirc Esler in Newry on June 11 (Stock picture)
The GAA confirmed on Tuesday that the re-fixture would be played in Páirc Esler in Newry on June 11 (Stock picture)

Meath's hurlers have agreed to relinquish their grasp on the Christy Ring Cup and face Antrim in a replay - but not this Saturday evening as the GAA's official fixture list has suggested.

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Meath received the trophy after a one-point win in Croke Park, 2-18 to 1-20, last Saturday before it emerged that the game should have ended in a draw, with referee John O'Brien admitting a score-keeping error.

The GAA confirmed on Tuesday that the re-fixture would be played in Páirc Esler in Newry on June 11 but in a statement last night, the Meath County Board said that they agreed to instead play on June 18 "in the interest of player welfare and appropriate preparation".

This weekend's round of Meath SHC games have been postponed as a result but the Antrim hurlers are also due to play an Ulster SHC semi-final on June 18 so whether the Meath proposal will be accepted remains to be seen. Meath's footballers could also be in qualifier action that day should they lose to Louth on Sunday.

Pressure

Elsewhere, Paddy Power and BoyleSports, two of Ireland's leading bookmakers, will stop taking bets on underage sports events amid growing pressure.

Betting markets are widely available on underage GAA, soccer and rugby games, along with schools matches, but both betting firms will no longer offer odds on such events in Ireland.

"We made the decision independently as we understand that some people have concerns about betting being available on U-18 sports, we've listened and are happy to act," a Paddy Power spokesperson said.

"Some people wanted to bet on U-18s sports so we responded to that demand. Those customers may be disappointed but we understand that there is a general concern around the issue so we have responded."

The GPA last night welcomed the decision as gambling addiction has been identified as a growing concern for county footballers and hurlers, with the GAA's integrity compromised.

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