Sunday 25 February 2018

No 'two up' compromise possible in Christy Ring Cup controversy - GAA president

Antrim's Paddy Burke looks dejected after the controversial Christy Ring Cup final Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Antrim's Paddy Burke looks dejected after the controversial Christy Ring Cup final Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Any compromise to allow both Meath and Antrim into the Liam MacCarthy Cup next year cannot be reached, it has emerged.

The prospect of both counties entering the Leinster Championship has been floated since the controversy over the scoreline cast a cloud over Meath's 'win' in Saturday evening's final.

But that would require a motion change, after Congress last February agreed to adopt the hurling Championship format that has been in place for the last three years.

On top of that there is the ongoing uncertainty over an Antrim motion, passed at that Congress, which allowed for the Christy Ring Cup winners to enter the Leinster Championship at the quarter-final stage.

Because there were so many anomalies, this decision may have to reversed in the coming months prior to next year's Championship draws in October.

Even an additional team in next year's round robin would require an extra playing weekend, stretching the preliminary competition to four weekends, which the GAA would be keen to avoid.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland today, GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl confirmed that a double-promotion was not an option.

“No, that’s not an option,” said Ó Fearghail. “That sounds nice at times and it’s lovely to be nice to everyone and we would like to do that and I’m sure that’s what people’s instant reaction was but we have to be fair and we also have to be honest. They are the two things – being fair and being honest.

“The CCC will consider the referee’s report. If there’s a winner, there’s a winner, and that will also be a consideration. But if the referee did make a genuine human error and admits that then I’ve no doubt the CCC will act fairly and if it ended in a draw there’s only one action they can take.

“If it ended in a draw, and, again, I’m using the word ‘if’, then you have to have a winner. You can’t have two winners.”

The GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee will meet formally this morning to declare the need for a replay after referee John O'Brien acknowledged an error in how he tallied the scoreline.

Originally he understood Meath to have won the game by 2-18 to 1-20 but it emerged that the actual scoreline was 2-17 to 1-20.

Meath, who toured some of the hurling strongholds in the county on Sunday, have indicated their unwillingness to participate in a replay with some of their players heading off to the US this week while Antrim players are also understood to be going on holidays.

Any future attempt to replay the fixture would lose its value, Meath feel.

However, Antrim county board chairman Collie Donnelly argued: "We feel we need fair play here. These things happen but it would be a big injustice if they didn't give us another opportunity."

Irish Independent

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