Saturday 20 January 2018

Tipp's football heroics tarnished as dual player row sees teams thrown out of hurling championship

Ciarán McDonald, left, and George Hannigan of Tipperary
Ciarán McDonald, left, and George Hannigan of Tipperary

Jackie Cahill

The demands on dual players have come to the fore in Tipperary with four clubs from the West division being thrown out of their local intermediate hurling championship for refusing to play without players involved in the county’s senior football panel.

One club representative remarked that the “euphoria” surrounding Tipp’s historic All-Ireland SFC quarter-final victory over Galway has been well and truly dampened by these controversial developments.  

As a group, the county players involved met and resolved that they would not line out in club fixtures last weekend, in order to give themselves the best possible chance of being ready for Tipp’s date with Mayo on August 21, while also minimising the risk of injury.

But local fixtures-makers took a dim view of their stance and expelled Rockwell Rovers, Golden-Kilfeacle, Arravale Rovers and Lattin-Cullen Gaels from the West IHC, while also handing down fines and insisting that any reasonable vouched expenses incurred by the opposition be covered.

Admittedly, the games in question fell outside of the 13-day rule that can invoked by county team managers in relation to the use of their players.  But club officials insist that some leeway should have been afforded to them, given the fact that Tipp’s senior footballers are preparing for a first All-Ireland semi-final in 81 years. Rockwell Rovers have Alan Moloney on the Tipp panel, while Golden-Kilfeacle are represented by starting player Josh Keane and Shane O’Connell.

Aherlow’s Mark Hanley, whose club is amalgamated with Lattin-Cullen, has been seeing game time off the bench for Tipp while Ciarán McDonald is also clubmate of Hanley’s . And the Arravale Rovers trio of Shane Leahy, Donough Leahy and Niall O’Donovan were subs for the victory over Galway.

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