Rugby club wins challenge over rescheduled game

A rugby club’s team-building weekend, featuring sports psychologists and nutritionists, was jeopardised when an unscheduled cup match was drop-kicked into Sunday, but after a legal scrum the match was kicked out again — by court order.

Crosshaven RFC brought the Munster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union to a special sitting of Cork Circuit Court when faced with the prospect of scrapping their weekend.

Tim O’Connor BL, for Crosshaven, said the club had received a bye in the first round of the Munster Junior Challenge Cup, giving them a free weekend to head to a hotel in Clonakilty to build team spirit.

However, the Munster IRFU had to rejig the fixtures list for the weekend as a result of another team being re-admitted to the league. Crosshaven were told last week they would be playing St Senan’s of Clare on Sunday.

Mr O’Connor said the club complained that this would not suit them, but were told they had to play the match.

Eoin Clifford BL, for the Munster IRFU, said if the club wanted to object there was a procedure for lodging the objection with a €250 payment.

Mr O’Connor said that the club had effectively objected in writing already and the same committee who would rule on an objection had already decided against them.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the Munster branch was effectively refusing to hear the objection because it did not follow correct procedure.

Mr Clifford said: “Yes judge, they are not following the rules for objecting that they have used before. Rules are there to be followed.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin noted there was great respect on all sides for the fixtures manager, Olan Allen, but the judge ruled in favour of Crosshaven and said the match would have to be rescheduled.

The judge said courts tried to stay out of the affairs of amateur sports organisations, and that it was unfortunate that the matter had to be brought to court at all.

He said Crosshaven had been trying to better their club, which was in the overall interests of the IRFU, but he said the Munster branch had taken an unnecessarily legalistic approach.

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