Tuesday 16 July 2019

'Someone needed to step in and say this is not right'

St Patrick’s corner-back Ciaran Doyle lifts the Miley Cup into the evening air of Joule Park Aughrim after his side’s thrilling victory over Rathnew in the county final.
St Patrick’s corner-back Ciaran Doyle lifts the Miley Cup into the evening air of Joule Park Aughrim after his side’s thrilling victory over Rathnew in the county final.

Brendan Lawrence, Sports Editor

St Patrick's manager Casey O'Brien has said that somebody needed to step in and take control of the farcical situation that saw his players forced to take to the field in Joule Park Aughrim less than 24 hours after they had clinched the Miley Cup after a thrilling battle with Rathnew on Saturday.

'At the start of the year a Leinster Council representative was sent down. And he came in to fix things. Mick Hagan did the fixtures for years. Now he doesn't get everything right, but he knows the scenarios and he can see things coming down the road.

'This guy came down and set these fixtures in stone. And we were told you can't change them, they're going ahead and that's it. That's where I think the fault lies. You can't set things in stone. You can give some sort of a diary for the year but there has to be leeway, especially for county finals and replays. They didn't do that,' said Casey O'Brien.

O'Brien's comments come in the wake of a statement released by Wicklow GAA yesterday (Tuesday) in relation to the playing of the Leinster Senior club game between St Pat's and Rhode on Sunday afternoon.

'Wicklow GAA wish to congratulate St. Patrick's GAA Club on their winning of the Renault Wicklow Senior Football Championship. Their participation in the Leinster Club Championship 24 hours after the county final replay was caused by the fact that the county football final ended in a draw.

'The reason that the replay could not have been played earlier was that there was a cross-over of dual players participating in both senior hurling and senior football county finals.

'Our competition regulations do not provide for extra-time in a county final and we are constrained by Joule Park Aughrim not having floodlights to host a replay mid-week. We made efforts to change the date of the Leinster Club Championship match with Rhode, but no agreement could be reached', read the statement.

But Casey O'Brien said that an official from Leinster Council or Croke Park should have stepped in and said, 'this is not right' when it was understood that Pat's would have to field the following day after the county final.

'The same thing happened with Avondale. They won the Intermediate hurling championship and they had the first round of the Leinster penciled in for the day before the county final. That's not Avondale's fault.

'They (GAA officials) are able to change things when they want to. I don't care, somebody somewhere, in Leinster or in Croke Park has to step in and say, 'this is not right'.

'St Pat's should not have to go out and play (the next day), and just refix the game. Whether that involved us going to Tullamore the following week or whatever.

'Someone has to step in. They're able to step in and suspend people. There's nobody able to step in and say other things are not right,' he added.

'In one way they did well with the league - there wasn't enough matches in my opinion - but they got the league out of the way and there's no travelling over to Hollywood on a Sunday morning at 10am or a Friday night in November or December,' added Casey O'Brien who added that fixtures in Wicklow are starting too late and that championships should be over well before the end of October.

Wicklow People