Past few days were Hell, says Crevin

Meath GAA secretary Cyril Creavin has described the past few days since Sunday's Leinster SFC final win over Louth as ‘hell’, after the Royal County were backed into a corner to offer a replay to their neighbours.

Meath won the provincial decider by 1-12 to 1-10, thanks to Joe Sheridan's controversial injury-time goal, but the GAA issued a statement on Monday in which referee Martin Sludden admitted that he had made a mistake in awarding the match-winning score.

"One word. . . hell would cover it," Creavin said in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday night's Meath GAA Executive meeting at Teach na Teamhrach outside Navan.

"We have been very busy, the phone was ringing all day and I feel that we have been put under very serious pressure for something we had no part in at all. That was our feeling.

"We are very disappointed with the way things worked out and hence it took us such a long time to arrive at the decision we've come to tonight."

And while Meath have their 21st Leinster title in the bag, as they aim to break Dublin's stranglehold at the summit of their provincial championshiop, Creavin conceded that the win has been tainted by the events which have unfolded in the aftermath of Sunday's win.

"No doubt it is tainted with all of this. We can't say it is anything but tainted, but sure we have to go on with it," he said.

Creavin explained the background over why the Meath officials took so long to reach a decision not to grant a re-fixture to Louth.

"First of all we had to debate it at management level (on Monday night), and you know how long that took. We hadn't come to a consensus of opinion, and even at that stage we had considered our players, but we hadn't really got speaking to them, which we did today. We also had to wait on the referee's report, and the letter today from the Leinster Council.

"Bearing all of those in mind, it took quite a while and it was only when we sat down tonight and put all of the facts together, that we arrived at a conclusion."

This may be the end of the Royals' input into the process, but Creavin is fully aware that the wider reaction to their decision may not be pleasant.

"I'd imagine there will be some disappointment at our decision in quite a few quarters, but others will be able to see the position we were placed in.

"We have to consider our players, who are the lads who go out every Sunday and do their best for their county. Like any county we have to stand by the decision of our players and our committee.

"Some like it and some don't, but we just have to go on with it."

When pressed on whether the GAA should implement rules to cover situations like this in future, Creavin felt that the Meath County Board should have got more guidance from national officials.

"It was a bizarre incident, but we should have probably got a little bit more direction from maybe Croke Park," he admitted.

"I know the rules are there and we have to abide by the rules but if we proposed a re-fixture we would surely be breaking some rule to accommodate that.

"I think, in this case, we should have got a bit of further guidance rather than being placed in the unenviable situation that we were in."

And Creavin also outlined the extent of the pressure felt by himself and his Meath County Board colleagues.

"It wouldn't be fair to say the GAA in general (put us under pressure), just the media in general.

"We have hundreds of emails, faxes, text messages from all over the place. Everybody converged on the county when this result came out.

"And bearing in mind even the statement from Croke Park yesterday (Monday), the full facts of the referee's report weren't released in it and again that was more pressure back on us."

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