Referee admits mistake but GAA 'cannot order' replay

The chances of the Leinster SFC final between Louth and Meath being replayed have diminished, following a statement issued by the GAA this afternoon.

The GAA have seemingly passed the buck with regards to the possibility of a rematch between the neighbouring counties. Their statement explains that, under current rules, they cannot order a replay.

That leaves Louth's hopes resting with the Leinster Council, who have yet to make a public statement on the issue, and the Meath County Board who are due to meet tonight.

Yesterday's final had a controversial finish in which Meath forward Joe Sheridan carried the ball over the goal-line as he attempted to score a late, match-winning goal.

The act of carrying the ball over the line is a technical foul and the goal, which referee Martin Sludden allowed to stand, should not have been awarded. Sheridan's effort gave the Royals a 1-12 to 1-10 victory.

Some angry Louth fans made their feelings known after the final whistle, with Sludden being physically threatened before he was ushered off the pitch.

The fall-out continued today with fans, members of the media and past players and managers expressing the view that the match should be replayed, in the interest of fair play and true GAA values.

Sludden has at least admitted that he was wrong in awarding the goal. Today's statement from the GAA read: "The GAA confirms that the referee's report has been received and the referee has stated that he made a mistake in awarding the Meath goal. However, under GAA rules, a re-fixture cannot be ordered as the referee's report of the full-time score is final."

The GAA also expressed its disappointment with the behaviour of the small minority of Louth supporters who attacked Sludden in the aftermath of the game.

"The GAA condemns the actions of a small number of supporters who entered the pitch enclosure in an effort to remonstrate with the match referee (Martin Sludden) at the end of yesterday's Leinster final.

"An Garda Siochána has been provided with the television footage of the post-match events and Croke Park post-match security procedures will be reviewed in light of yesterday's unacceptable incidents," the statement concluded.

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