| 7.8°C Dublin

Gaels dispute hits schedule

A dispute over player eligibility in the Sligo hurling final has delayed the AIB Connacht junior championships and is now threatening to disrupt the All-Ireland championships.

The problem arose following Western Gaels' win in the Sligo final, when queries arose about the eligibility of one of their players. The Gaels were due to play St Mary's (Leitrim) in the Connacht semi-final on October 25, but it was postponed, pending investigation.

The drawn-out case, which went through Sligo County Board and Connacht Council procedures, has ended up before the DRA, who adjourned their hearing before Christmas. They are due to reconvene next Tuesday.

If they find against Western Gaels, the Connacht final between St Mary's and Bearna-Na Forbacha (Galway) will be played on the following weekend to clear the way for the All-Ireland semi-final against Fullen Gaels (Lancashire) or Meelin (Cork) on January 30.

If the DRA find in favour of Western Gaels they will play St Mary's, with the winners heading for the Connacht final. However, that would cause scheduling problems as the All-Ireland semi-final is set for January 30.

One option would be to defer the All-Ireland semi-final for a week, but given the uncertain weather conditions, that's a risky route as the final is fixed for February 13 as part of weekend extravaganza of junior and intermediate deciders in Croke Park.

  • The GAA's talent drain continues as a former Galway minor football captain is heading for Australia on a nine-month trial with an AFL club.

Ronan Steede, who starred with the Tribesmen's minors in 2009, has signed with Victoria club Grovedale, who play in the second tier of Australian Rules football.

Steede will spend the first three weeks of his contract with AFL club Richmond Tigers, before joining up with his team-mates for their pre-season camp in preparation for the Geelong Football League season.

Irish Independent