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Frank Roche: O'Byrne could be totally frozen out

THIS year's O'Byrne Cup could end up being shelved altogether if another weekend is lost to the longest cold snap in recent memory, writes Frank Roche.

"The longer it goes on the less chance we have, obviously," admitted Leinster Council secretary Michael Delaney. "Right now you just couldn't predict. If it gets up and running on Saturday and Sunday week it will be completed, but if not well then there would be question marks. Some counties with college-tied players may want all their players together once the league starts."

The subsidiary football competitions in all four provinces have been postponed this weekend, placing an obvious question mark on when -- or even if -- they will get completed.

TONY CARMODY has become the latest experienced Clare hurler to quit the inter-county game. The Limerick-based Garda, who first joined the panel ten years ago, has followed this week's retirement lead of Niall Gilligan. New boss Ger O'Loughlin must also plan without Tony Griffin, who has declined an invitation to reverse his earlier decision to opt out at a time when Mike McNamara was still in charge.

CROKE PARK chiefs won't initiate attempts to resolve the Limerick hurling crisis, although GAA president Christy Cooney has received a briefing from county board officials this week. "In terms of getting involved, no. It is something we are reluctant to do," explained director-general Páraic Duffy. "At the moment we will see how this evolves. I think Limerick know our views. We would like to have it settled and settled very quickly."

MAYO boss John O'Mahony has accused some rival counties of breaking the winter ban on collective team training. "The only issue I'd have with it, and we all hear the rumours, is that certain counties have trained continuously despite the ban," O'Mahony said.

"The GAA have suggested they'll be taking action against them. Anecdotally we know what has gone on, and I hope that issue will be followed up."