McGlinchey hits out at GAA 'disrespect'
The GAA's decision to declare the outstanding Allianz Division 4 football league games 'null and void' has prompted an angry reaction from some of the managers most directly affected.
Three matches - Wicklow v Limerick, Laois v Antrim and Waterford v Leitrim - which all went by the wayside due to the recent adverse weather, have all now been shelved because they could not be completed ahead of the April 'club window' that the GAA are determined to preserve.
Efforts by some of the counties involved to stage the games later this month or even, in one case, in early May, have failed.
In a statement, the GAA said it was "regrettable that the exceptional weather conditions of recent weeks have given rise to this situation and while it would have been preferable that the games could have been re-arranged before the conclusion of the league season, it was felt by the CCCC (Central Competition Controls Committee) that this should not happen at the expense of pre-scheduled club games in April."
But Waterford manager Tom McGlinchey, who had been scathing in his criticism in advance of this decision late last week, said the Association was "once again showing disrespect and disregard for the lower division teams."
McGlinchey said he had agreed with rival Leitrim manager Brendan Guckian to press ahead with their match on Wednesday, April 25, in Abbotstown if it was available, but this wasn't acceptable.
Waterford have club hurling action this weekend and again the following weekend before football games take place over two weekends after that.
He said the opportunity to play the game on Bank Holiday Easter Monday next was explored but this wasn't feasible.
Limerick boss Billy Lee said that in conversation with Wicklow’s John Evans they were willing to play Wicklow at an agreed venue on May 2 but he said this wasn’t acceptable to Croke Park who wanted to wrap up the games within the ‘league season,’ in the case of Waterford, Leitrim, Wicklow and Limerick this weekend and Laois and Antrim on April 7/8.
McGlinchey said the loss of the game to Waterford will have an impact on a few fronts. By winning against London they moved up to sixth and if they beat Leitrim he calculated they could finish fourth.
“That may not seem much to a lot of people but, to us, it would mean a lot. When you’d be going looking for some support it wouldn’t come back at you that you were bottom. We’d take a lot of pride from finishing fourth if we could achieve it,” he said.
“If Carlow won on Sunday against Laois and Tipperary had beaten Cavan then the league finals would have had to be pushed back. The hurling final is already pushed back. But we get punished. When I hear there’s nothing at stake, it annoys me. There’s a lot at stake for us. We might only play nine competitive games. This means we’ll only play eight,” he said.
In Leitrim’s case, their league campaign amounted to five games because their game with London already went by the wayside.
“Our game against London didn’t have consequences for promotion. Could we have shelved that and paid the €500 fine instead of the €12,000 it cost our county board to get us over there?” asked McGlinchey. Lee said that at the time they were agreeable to playing Wicklow, they’d be looking for challenge matches anyway.
“The danger is, this could set a precedent. It is damaging to the league which for many counties is the primary competition. It’s more interesting than the championship and yet it has been cut short for these counties. We’re trying to educate fellas and games are the best way to do this.”
All four football league finals have been fixed for Croke Park this weekend with Laois and Carlow in the Division 4 final throwing in at 3pm and Armagh and Fermanagh in the Division 3 at 5pm on Saturday. The outstanding Division 2 games between Louth and Meath in Drogheda and Down and Tipperary in Newry both go ahead at 3pm on Saturday.
Semple Stadium will host the first league hurling semi-final between Tipperary and Limerick on Saturday at 7pm while the second semi-final will see Wexford and Kilkenny do battle in Innovate Wexford Park.
In Croke Park, the Division 2 football final between Roscommon and Cavan and Division 1 final between Dublin and Galway are timed for 2pm and 4pm.
Elsewhere, it looks like the long-postponed O’Byrne Cup final between Meath and Westmeath will take place on May 13.
Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé and John Mullane.