A breakthrough is expected this week in the impasse which has held up the Galway SHC championship in a row over the eligibility of a player, writes John Fallon.
Galway county committee chairman Pat Kearney said he is hopeful a decision will be forthcoming soon from the Dispute Resolutions Authority and that the title race can resume.
The row centres around whether Turloughmore fielded an ineligible player, US-bound Jamie Holland, when they defeated Portumna in June.
Turloughmore finished ahead of Portumna in their pool but if they are docked points for the victory, they will not qualify for the knockout stages.
Instead, three-time All-Ireland champions Portumna will advance. The case has been before the Connacht Council, having twice been referred back to the Galway authorities, and it has now gone to the DRA after the provincial body ruled against Turloughmore.
The closing date for submissions to the DRA is today and Galway officials are hopeful a decision will then be forthcoming later in the week.
Chairman Kearney said the title race was not far behind schedule. “We haven’t really lost time at this stage. It will take four weekends to finish the championship. Aside from being in the All-Ireland final, there are other factors such as having dual players which have to be taken into account.
“There hasn’t yet been a major delay. If you look at Mayo, they are only at quarter-final stage at this point in their football championship.
"What we are hoping for at this stage is that the DRA will meet later this week and make a decision and we will move on from there. We can’t do anything until we have that decision,” he said.
Already into the quarter-finals are the four pool winners: Liam Mellows, Craughwell, Sarsfields, and Gort. Another eight teams will meet in the preliminary quarter-finals: Castlegar, Kilnadeema/Leitrim, Cappataggle, Tommy Larkins, St Thomas, Killimordaly and Clarinbridge, as well as either Portumna or Turloughmore.
Meanwhile, decisions taken at Special Congress have been welcomed in Galway.
Chief executive John Hynes saying it will be a huge boost to have games played in the county, and not just at senior level. “It will be a boost financially in terms of the games in Pearse Stadium but as we have said consistently right from the start, the main objective was to get more meaningful games for our underage teams, U21s, and minors.
“That, I think, has been achieved to some extent, and secondly to get some home games for our senior team.
"We are facing 2018 with a prospect of a minimum of two Leinster SHC games played in Galway. Also, we will be in discussion in relation to having one U21 if not more games played in Galway, and also one minor game.
“It’s been 50 years since there has been an U21 or minor hurling championship game played in the county of Galway. It’s incredible to believe it but it’s true.
"It’s going to be great for the young kids to be able to go to Kenny Park or Pearse Stadium next year and get an opportunity to see their young idols play championship games.”
This article first appeared on the Irish Examiner