Monday 11 December 2017

Player boycott on cards as Munster stick with seeded draw

The parade at this year's Munster final
The parade at this year's Munster final
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

MUNSTER football chiefs look set for a major standoff with players who are seriously contemplating a boycott of next year's provincial senior championship because of the way the controversial seeding issue was handled last night.

The decision to reintroduce seeding into Munster's SFC next year, made on September 12, had already attracted the ire of players from Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford who had met and lobbied their county boards to have the decision reversed.

But when an emergency meeting to discuss the matter was held by Munster Council in Limerick last night the provincial chairman Robert Frost told delegates that, under official rule, the original decision could not be re-visited and the seeding decision will stand.

The Irish Independent understands that the players are furious, have already arranged to meet again and issue a joint statement and that some favour a boycott. One Clare player described the handling of the matter last night as "very sly."

And Limerick senior footballer Pa Ranahan gave some indication of the depth of feeling when he tweeted: "Has it ever happened that a provincial championship only had 1 actual match? 2014 could be a first. #Nuclear."

At last night's meeting delegates were told they could not re-visit the decision because, under Rule 3.31 (e), the province can only make changes to competition formats once annually.

The open draw has, with the exception of one year, applied since 1991, but some very one-sided championship games recently led to a push in some quarters for a return to seeding the province's 'Big Two'.

Players from other Munster counties met last week to try to get the decision reversed as they feel it will militate against them making a breakthrough and keeping Cork and Kerry on opposite sides of the draw makes it likelier that they will both contest the final.

The draw for Munster's 2014 senior football and hurling championships will take place next Thursday.

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