Turloughmore expulsion aids Portumna
Former All-Ireland club champions Portumna have been handed a reprieve in the race for the Galway SHC title following the expulsion of Turloughmore from the championship.
Turloughmore's appeal against losing the match points for fielding an ineligible player in a group victory against Portumna has been thrown out by the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA).
It brings an unsatisfactory end to the first year in charge of Turloughmore by former Mayo football manager James Horan. The outcomes sees four-time All-Ireland club champions Portumna now go on to meet Castlegar in a preliminary quarter-final this weekend.
It also means that Joe Canning and his nephew Jack Canning, who won All-Ireland senior and minor medals last month, could crown a glorious year by steering Portumna to their seventh Galway SHC title.
Turloughmore's hopes of remaining in the championship were dashed when the DRA ruled their appeal out of order on a technicality this week. The row centred around whether Turloughmore fielded an ineligible player, US-bound Jamie Holland, when they defeated Portumna in June.
Reversed Turloughmore finished ahead of Portumna in their pool but the loss of the match points reversed the standings.
The case went before the Connacht Council, having twice been referred back to the Galway authorities, and went to the DRA after the provincial body ruled against Turloughmore.
The club, in a statement, said they acted in good faith and are disappointed they couldn't make their case to the DRA. "Turloughmore GAA are deeply disappointed that we did not get a chance to present our case at the DRA, which was ruled out on a technicality," the statement said. "We were denied the opportunity to defend our outstanding young hurler and our senior hurling team who have been caught up in this saga since last June.
"Two separate CCCs set up in Galway, heard our evidence and ruled in our favour. Hence our disappointment in not getting the opportunity to present our case to the higher authority, namely the DRA. We are satisfied that Turloughmore GAA acted in good faith at all times and are deeply saddened by this outcome."
Meanwhile, there's mounting in speculation in Tyrone that Gavin Devlin is to leave Mickey Harte's backroom team and a worthy replacement has already been found.
Former footballer of the year Stephen O'Neill, who still plays club football, is being tipped to come on board alongside Harte.