Replay unlikely after Sligo use 'too many' subs

Hopes are fading that Antrim will be granted a replay of their Round 1A qualifier with Sligo due to too many substitutes being used by the Yeats men, writes Declan Rooney.

Sligo introduced seven subs during their 0-22 to 3-7 win over Antrim at Markevicz Park on Saturday evening, but one of the seven was a blood substitution when Mark Breheny was replaced by Kyle Cawley after 44 minutes. Antrim’s Jack Dowling received a red card for the same incident.

According to a Sligo manager Niall Carew everything was above board in Sligo’s substitutions and he is confident Sligo can continue without censure into Round 2A of the qualifiers, where they were pitted against Meath in this morning’s draw.

“Mark’s substitution was a blood sub. All paper work was done as per the rules,” said Carew.

A spokesperson for the GAA’s referees also confirmed Carew’s version of events and said Breheny’s blood substitution had been recorded in the official referee's report of referee Fergal Kelly.

According to GAA rules a maximum of six substitutions can be made during a football match, but any amount of blood substitutions can be made throughout the game in addition to those six changes.

Incidentally, the same rule does not apply to changes required for head injuries, which must come under the umbrella of the original six changes. Any player that is removed after the sixth player with a head knock cannot be replaced.

Last year Armagh were granted a replay following their qualifier defeat to Laois when Laois introduced a seventh substitution in the final minute of their qualifier game in Portlaoise. On that occasion the final change was not for a blood injury – it was for a black card – and the game had to be replayed.

If the matter is cleared up as expected Sligo will play Meath in Navan on Saturday 1 July or Sunday 2 July. Elsewhere in this morning’s qualifier draw Donegal were pitted against Longford; Laois will host Clare; while Mayo will have home advantage against Mayo.

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