Wednesday 24 January 2018

Time to forgive and forget Sludden mistake -- Bradley

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

AS controversial referee Martin Sludden steps back into inter-county action tomorrow, Antrim football boss Liam Bradley has pleaded with people to give the Tyrone official a break.

"It's time to forgive and forget," said Bradley of the way Sludden has been vilified since making the Leinster final blunder that cost Louth their first title in 53 years.

"If Martin could turn the clock back, I'm sure he would," said the outspoken Antrim boss, who knows Sludden personally,

"But the Association is littered with mistakes. This is a new year and people are still vilifying this man for something he did last July. It has to end.

"We all make mistakes in our lives. Martin Sludden will make mistakes between Armagh and Antrim on Sunday. I could make a mistake along the line on Sunday. It's time to forgive and forget."


Tomorrow's McKenna Cup game between Antrim and Armagh in Crossmaglen will be Sludden's first inter-county game since last year's infamous Leinster football final, though he took charge of one major Ulster club game before Christmas.

The Leinster Council have clarified that tomorrow's O'Byrne Cup match between Dublin and Westmeath will take place on St Loman's pitch in Mullingar.

Meanwhile, the first ever floodlit match at McHale Park, Castlebar now looks set to take place this day week (January 15).

The Mayo County Board have just received planning permission to go ahead and use their floodlights, pending 16 conditions. And they look set to use their second FBD game against Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology next Saturday as a trial run ahead of hosting their first NFL game of the season against Down on February 5 under lights.

Elsewhere, Cavan's hurlers -- who were worried recently that their team might be withdrawn from the NHL -- will have Offaly native PJ Martin (a brother of Westmeath boss Kevin), who was their trainer last year, as their new manager, assisted by selectors Pat Halpin and Philip McDonald.

And Portlaoise GAA club, one of those worst hit by the recent economic downturn, have organised a forthcoming fundraiser that should attract a great deal of attention.

Portlaoise have managed to continue with their new development in Rathleague, despite the backdrop of a multi-million debt to a development company whose purchase of their old club, beside O'Moore Park, fell through after planning permission was refused.

Club sources say they have a number of contingency plans in place to ensure the club is not exposed to the debt, but have admitted that their existing club grounds will likely end up in the control of NAMA.

Portlaoise have put together an attractive line-up for their 'Great GAA Debate' on Friday, January 21 (8.0).

Chaired by Marty Morrissey, it will include the Irish Independent's Eugene McGee, plus Liam Griffin, Michael Duignan, Pat McEnaney, Liam O'Neill and others debating such hot topics as: 'Is video technology inevitable?', 'Will the provincial hurling championships survive?' and 'Can rule changes save Gaelic football?'. Tickets are €15, contact 086-8149623.

Irish Independent

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