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'We consider these matters closed' - LGFA dash hopes that schoolgirls' All-Ireland final could be rescheduled

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Loreto Clonmel’s Niamh Martin after the 2018 final defeat that her school were hoping to rectify this year. Photo: Sportsfile

Loreto Clonmel’s Niamh Martin after the 2018 final defeat that her school were hoping to rectify this year. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Loreto Clonmel’s Niamh Martin after the 2018 final defeat that her school were hoping to rectify this year. Photo: Sportsfile

THE Ladies Gaelic Football Association has dashed any lingering student hopes that the Lidl post-primary schools competitions might yet be completed.

The LGFA this evening reiterated its “extremely tough” decision, originally taken in March, to cancel the remainder of the PPS All-Ireland championships for 2020.

“We will not be revisiting decisions relating to the health and safety of our members, which remain wholly relevant, and we consider these matters closed,” a statement concluded.

That definitive message would appear to end all hopes of a volte-face.

In recent weeks, the players and team management of Moate Community School and Loreto Clonmel have intensified their campaign to rearrange the cancelled All-Ireland senior ‘A’ final.

Both schools have gone public in calling on the LGFA to revisit the matter while Moate student Shannon Mulvihill went even further, writing a letter to the new Minister for Sport, Catherine Martin of the Green Party.

Thursday’s Irish Independent carried an in-depth report on the saga. There was particular annoyance at the differing approaches taken towards the completion of some schools finals in boys’ and girls’ Gaelic football – a scenario publicly slammed as “sexist” by players from both the Moate and Clonmel camps.

The Leinster PPS boys senior ‘A’ final between St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge and Naas CBS was played a fortnight ago, whereas the body overseeing ladies’ football was unwilling to take a similar stance on its national schools competitions following the recent return of GAA activity with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The LGFA declined to comment publicly for that report, but it has now issued a statement outlining why it is unwilling to budge.

“The LGFA acknowledges that schools and players across all six competitions were left disappointed when, in unprecedented circumstances, the extremely tough decision was taken in March to cancel the Lidl PPS All-Ireland Championships for 2020,” the association says.

“This decision was taken in the best interests of all relevant stakeholders, and in line with Government and Public Health Authority advice, following the onset of Covid-19.

“The LGFA is proud of its role in helping to limit the spread of Covid-19 and, at all times, the health and wellbeing of all of our members has been our primary concern, and that will continue to be the case.

“We are delighted that club activity has resumed across the country – and we very much hope that local competitions will be completed, ahead of a planned return to inter-county activities in October,” the statement continues.

“However, it should be noted that the total of 85 confirmed new cases of Covid-19 reported yesterday (Thursday) is the highest daily number since late May, and public health officials are extremely concerned by recent trends.

“It is quite clear that Covid-19 remains a very real threat to our members and their families, and we will continue to play our part in the fight against coronavirus.

“At present, the clear and prescient advice is that fixtures should be played at local/county level only, before a return to national activity later in the year.

“Covid-19 and its associated dangers are still very much with us – and will be for some time.

“In the current climate, we cannot, and will not, sanction any fixture that involves participants from separate provinces, and until the inter-county window officially opens.

“The LGFA’s stance on the 2020 Lidl All-Ireland Post Primary Schools competitions, and indeed other competitions and initiatives affected, has not changed since it was first communicated in March, and reaffirmed following a recent review.

“We will not be revisiting decisions relating to the health and safety of our members, which remain wholly relevant, and we consider these matters closed.“

Online Editors