Wednesday 23 October 2019

Meath chairman resigns over message to referee


O'Halloran said the message was sent
O'Halloran said the message was sent "in the heat of the moment but was never acted upon". Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

There was shock in Meath last night when county board chairman Peter O'Halloran stepped down from his position with immediate effect after what he described as an "error of judgement" in a communication with a referee.

In a statement to clubs after a Management Committee meeting, O'Halloran said he regretted the communication with referee Patrick Neilis which took place two-and-a-half years ago when he was chairman of the county's Competition Controls Committee (CCC).

O'Halloran's position had come under pressure after the content of the WhatsApp message he sent to the referee, advising him that he would be sending him to "ride Slane in a month or so" came to light. Slane are a local Junior B club.

O'Halloran said the message was sent "in the heat of the moment but was never acted upon".

Neilis has confirmed that he never carried out the instruction.

Drumconrath official O'Halloran took over as chairman of Meath county board in December 2017.

Neilis informed the county board of the message content. The Slane club also made contact with the board to let them know they were aware of the message. In his departing statement, O'Halloran urged clubs to continue to build on some of the progress in recent years.

"Throughout my 20-year involvement with Meath GAA (through juvenile, minor and adult boards), I have always worked for what was best for GAA in this great county," he said.

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"Some of you will be aware that I made an error of judgement some two-and-a-half years ago, before I was chairman, in a communication with a referee.

"It was a bad call on my behalf that was carried out in the heat of the moment, but was never acted upon, and is an incident that I deeply regret.

"In the interests of Meath GAA, and with a very heavy heart, I have tonight taken the decision to step down, with immediate effect, as Cathlaoirleach of Coiste na Mí."

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