Sport Hurling

Saturday 21 January 2017

'We are firmly against playing a replay to a game we have already won' - Meath boss Martin Ennis slams GAA

Harry Clarke

Published 07/06/2016 | 15:37

Seán Quigley of Meath is lifted by jubilant team-mates. Photo: Sportsfile
Seán Quigley of Meath is lifted by jubilant team-mates. Photo: Sportsfile

Meath manager Martin Ennis has slammed the decision of the Central Competitions Control Committee to order a replay of the Christy Ring Cup final.

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The CCCC today voted in favour of the match being played this Saturday in Newry (7pm) after last weekend's controversy in Croke Park. The scoreboard and the referee initially agreed that Meath had won the game by one point (2-18 to 1-20).

However, the referee later acknowledged that he had made an error and the actual score was Meath 2-17; Antrim 1-20.

The Meath County Board confirmed to Independent.ie that they have received no official statement from the GAA as of this evening and will hold a management meeting tomorrow night to decide their next steps.

"I'm very disappointed with the decision of the GAA's CCCC to order a replay of the Ring Cup final, effectively putting Antrim and ourselves against each other over a mistake that was of their making," Ennis told the Meath Chronicle.

"We have no intention of paying the price for the mistake of the GAA. Asking us to replay a game that we firmly believe we won last Saturday is very disappointing.

"We sought clarification from the CCCC about Sean Heavey's perfectly good point in the 41st minute, but it appears to me that they never even looked at that score.

"I requested that the officials look at the point with Hawkeye at the time, but they refused, so what I want to know now is why did they refuse? I also want them to retrospectively go back and look at that decision.

Eoghan Campbell of Antrim is visibly disappointed after the game. Photo: Sportsfile
Eoghan Campbell of Antrim is visibly disappointed after the game. Photo: Sportsfile

"I'm also very disappointed that the GAA President made the comments he made this morning on RTE Radio. What was the point of having a CCCC meeting when it already appears as if the decision was already made.

"This really is shambolic and a farce and it is far from over yet. As a management team we are firmly against playing a replay to a game we have already won, collected the cup and celebrated. I will contact each of the players to get their views, but how can the players be in the right frame of mind or be physically right to play a game next Saturday. It's nothing short of a disgrace."

Even though it is custom and practice to present trophies in GAA finals immediately after the game, the result does not become official until the referee’s report is adopted by the Central Competitions Control Committee.

Once the referee acknowledged that he had made an error in tallying the score the CCCC had little option but to accept his amended score and schedule a replay.

Meath players celebrate after the Christy Ring Cup Final between Antrim and Meath
Meath players celebrate after the Christy Ring Cup Final between Antrim and Meath

The scheduling of a GAA fixture cannot be appealed though given the circumstances of this case Meath could attempt to take their case to the Dispute Resolution Authority.

The Meath County board will meet tomorrow night and make a decision on whether they will fulfill the fixture or not.

"We have to wait until we get something official, which we haven't done yet," Meath PRO Martin O'Halloran told Independent.ie.

"When we do get that we will have a management meeting before the county board meeting tomorrow evening. But we would say the situation is most unsatisfactory.

"There are a whole load of things that have to be taken into consideration. The Meath club championship starts this weekend. There was euphoria all right across the county after the weekend. To take it off Martin Ennis and his team would not be acceptable."

While O'Halloran accepts that Antrim can feel hard done by, he added that members of the Meath squad had made holiday plans after the weekend's match.

"We have no issue with Antrim,. They were particularly sporting after the game and congratulated us on the performance. No Issue. Both teams feel hard done by in the circumstances."

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