Two senior hurling clubs, Ballyea and Cratloe, have lodged appeals with the Munster Council against a decision, confirmed on Tuesday evening, to cancel four second round games in the Clare Senior Hurling Championship this weekend.
Representatives of the eight clubs – Sixmilebridge, Cratloe, Ballyea, Clooney-Quin, O’Callaghan’s Mills, St Joseph’s, Wolfe Tones and Éire Óg – were told on Tuesday evening at a meeting in Clareabbey that their scheduled round two games for this weekend were cancelled. A number of the clubs have criticised of the way the issue has been handled by Clare GAA.
According to Clare GAA chairman, Michael McDonagh, “A decision was made by the CCC (Competitions Control Committee) to put back four games to either August 3 or 15. We understand the plight the clubs are in and we have to try and help both the clubs and the county team. We felt that by giving a definite date for the re-fixtures, we are doing that.
“There are serious problems with fixtures during the summer months because of the success of our senior and U-21 hurlers and now the progress of the footballers and there are very few dates available in April, May and June because of Third Level and Leaving Cert exams. The answer to all of this would be to shorten the season for inter-county games, so that we can help our clubs. We believe that this is the only answer going forward.
“At this stage, I would appeal to the people of this county to get behind our county hurling and football teams for the next month. We can never forget what the joy of winning two All-Irelands last year did for this county,” he added.
Concluding, Mr McDonagh said he has “appealed to all the clubs that we work together to achieve these goals because, if we don’t, we will self destruct”.
Patrick Moylan and John Ryan, chairmen of Ballyea and Cratloe respectively, confirmed to The Clare Champion on Wednesday that they are in the process of presenting their appeals to the provincial council.
Munster Council PRO, Ger Ryan, explained, “All such appeals are dealt with by the council’s Hearings Committee and once an appeal is lodged, the Hearings Committee is notified and they take it from there”.
Given that the games in question were scheduled for this Friday and Sunday, before the decision to call them off, it is expected that every effort will be made to have the appeals heard as early as possible.
The Clare Champion spoke to the eight clubs involved regarding this week’s decision, where Ballyea and Cratloe confirmed their decision to appeal.
The other six clubs responded as follows:
Larry Hally, Éire Óg secretary: “As a dual club, it will make it awkward for us down the line, not to mention the problems for players trying to arrange holidays. On the other hand, it will give Shane O’Donnell a bit more time to recover from injury”.
Michael McNamara, Clooney-Quin secretary: “We are disappointed the games are not going ahead as planned this weekend. We had made plans to change a player’s holidays. There is a definite date going ahead of August 3 or 15, depending on where Clare are by then, which is a help”.
Paddy Meehan, Sixmilebridge chairman, “We are happy with the decision. We are backing Davy Fitz, because of the injury situation Clare are in. Their backs are to the wall, Wexford are an upcoming team.”
Dan O’Connor, St Joseph’s secretary: “We understand both sides’ position and it would have been better if management came in and spoke with the clubs; it would avoid a lot of the tension that is building up”.
Colm Hanley, Wolfe Tones: “The mistake was made last February when we proposed that at least two rounds be played in April/May and then allow for county teams to do what they need to do. Clubs are as guilty as anybody else. Last week, I was in favour of the matches being called off but when it was decided that they were on, we went ahead and prepared, only to be told on Monday that they were off. It’s unprofessional. I have sympathy for county team but this should have been handled a bit better. They have guaranteed us there will be no championship matches until at least August 3.”
Declan Hogan, O’Callaghan’s Mills manager: “The senior panel and mentors are disappointed the round is not going ahead. It is fully understood why the county management requested 13 days but we are very disappointed with the way the whole matter has been handled. At the end of the day, the club players are the ones that suffer. Our game should have gone ahead last weekend, as there was no reason to call off that one.”