Friday 15 December 2017

Young Munster fuming as fixture clash set to rule key players out of AIL semi-final

Munster's Robin Copeland. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster's Robin Copeland. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

The much-maligned British and Irish Cup has reared its head again as Friday night's final involving Munster 'A' is set to deny several of Young Munster's first-choice players the chance to play in Sunday's All-Ireland League semi-final against Clontarf.

The Limerick club have said that they first contacted the IRFU about the possibility of moving their last-four clash two weeks ago but the union told the Irish Independent: "We tried to facilitate an alternative time for the fixture. However, proposed schedule changes must be agreed by the opposition and due to pre-existing player commitments, the club were unable to facilitate the request for a change."

With Leinster taking on Clermont Auvergne in the Champions Cup at the same time on Sunday, it is far from ideal for 'Tarf and their supporters but the reality is that their opponents will not be able to field their strongest possible XV.

The likes of Robin Copeland, Gavin Coombes, Fineen Wycherley, Calvin Nash, Cian Bohane, Dan Goggin, Abrie Griesel and Alan Tynan could be involved for Munster 'A' on Friday and given that all except Griesel is contracted to the province, they would not be permitted to play again on Sunday.

Young Munster had looked for the game to be played next weekend which clashes with the Bateman Cup final involving Cork Con and Old Belvedere before the Division 1A final takes place the following weekend.

The Cookies have stressed that they have also been in touch with RTE who, they say, would have been open to changing their schedule to allow the semi-final be played next weekend but that the decision lies with the IRFU.

Young Munster are fuming over the position that the scheduling has left them in and their honorary secretary Brendan Collopy revealed that they even offered to play the game next Wednesday evening.

"This is the premier club competition in Ireland and the situation that has arisen is depriving players a chance to win a medal. It wouldn't happen in any other sport," Collopy said.

The B&I Cup has long been a bugbear of AIL teams as the secondary competition often denies players the chance to also play with their clubs.

"The players would be much better off playing for their clubs than in a competition like the B&I Cup," Collopy added.

"As a result, we have to field a totally weakened team in the semi-final, which in our opinion shows a total disregard for the league and the club game in general."

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