Monday 19 February 2018

Galway agree to play in Thurles

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Galway will not consider a boycott of Saturday's All-Ireland U-21 hurling final in Thurles and have agreed to play the game against Tipperary on their home turf.

A planned meeting of clubs in Galway to discuss options did not go ahead last night after the six- man hurling board executive took the decision to play the game.

The final was scheduled for Thurles some months ago, but the fact that Tipperary reached the decider muddied the situation somewhat.

Chairman Joe Byrne claimed the hurling board were being hounded by clubs and supporters not to go to Semple Stadium -- where the Tipperary homecoming was held on Monday night -- for the U-21 decider.

Galway had sought a neutral venue and even met GAA director general Paraic Duffy on Friday. They came away from this meeting confident that a change would be agreed.

But the CCCC stuck by the decision to play the game in Thurles and, according to Byrne, the Galway Hurling Board received a letter from the fixtures body stating that Thurles was chosen because it was deemed the "fairest" venue.

GAA president Christy Cooney said he had no influence over the decision, but pointed out that substantial money had been spent on upgrading Thurles as the country's second venue and that U-21 finals would be played there in the future.

But Byrne said: "We are very unhappy with the way all this has been handled and we want all of that examined, but, for now, it is a matter of concentrating on the game on Saturday. We are very angry about the whole matter."

Meanwhile, Liam Kearns, despite not having been nominated by a Galway club for the vacant football manager's job, may still be added to the ticket if officers feel he could be a viable replacement for Joe Kernan.

Tomas O Flaharta joins Peter Warren, Gerry Fahy, Matt Duggan and Pat Fallon as the only confirmed candidates to date. Frank Doherty and John Divilly, who were both nominated, have withdrawn.

  • The annual GOAL challenge will take place in Templemore tonight (6.0) when newly crowned All-Ireland champions Tipperary will play Thurles Sarsfields, the county champions.
  • The final votes for Etihad Airways' "Best Club Under the Sun" competition can be cast before today's deadline on Clonlara (Clare), Killenaule (Tipperary), Na Fianna (Dublin) and Oulart the Ballagh (Wexford) are vying for the prize, a training trip for a full squad to Abu Dhabi.

Irish Independent

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