Thurles boss slams timing of Harty Cup final replay as 'cruelty'
THURLES CBS manager Niall Cahill believes that asking his team and opponents Ardscoil Rís to play a third Harty Cup final in 12 days amounts to "cruelty" to the players involved.
The eagerly anticipated second replay between holders Thurles and their Limerick opponents has been refixed for Thursday at McDonagh Park, Nenagh (2.30). The two drawn games, on February 28 and the replay on Saturday, attracted crowds of 2,596 and 2,090, but this week's attendance is expected to be significantly lower.
"What we're asking them to do is cruelty but we weren't left with much option and the young lads will tog out regardless but if it was a group match, half of the players from both teams wouldn't be playing," Cahill said.
Munster Colleges officials claim their hands were tied by Croke Park after both schools asked for a week-long break and a weekend fixture. But the matter is complicated by the fact that Leinster runners-up Kilkenny CBS are awaiting the Harty final losers in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
Kilkenny CBS have generously agreed to put that match back from next Saturday to next Monday but that still leaves the Harty runners-up with precious little time to get over their disappointment.
The decision to play the first Harty final replay last Saturday was heavily criticised by Thurles CBS, who even considered boycotting. Aidan McCormack missed the first game through suspension and would have been free had the replay taken place a day later, as his month-long ban expired at midnight on Saturday.
But the Thurles Sarsfields powerhouse is now free to line out on Thursday, with Ardscoil Rís facing a massive loss themselves with wing-back Cathal McInerney unavailable after he was sent off last weekend.
Representatives of Thurles CBS and Ardscoil Rís met with Munster Colleges chiefs last Sunday night to thrash out a date for the second replay.