Antrim hurling manager Kevin Ryan has launched a furious attack on the Ulster Council after it brought forward the starting time of the Ulster U21 HC final to accommodate a club reserve football match.
The provincial final effectively became a curtain-raiser to the Armagh Intermediate Reserve Championship decider between Silverbridge and St Peter’s on Wednesday evening.
The hurlers from Antrim and Down, along with their supporters, were forced to travel early for a 7pm throw-in, and Ryan said he felt sick at the way the event was handled.
“I’m just sick over it. It’s just crazy. I mean, I’m looking at an Intermediate Reserve football game, and our game had to go at seven o’clock. It was fixed for half-seven from the start, all games are at half-seven,” said Ryan, who manages the Saffron senior and U21 teams. I think it’s an absolute disgrace. That the CCC, or whatever you call them, would fix a game for seven o’ clock because they wanted to play an Armagh Reserve Championship game in football after it, it’s just… “Lads coming from north Antrim, they had to finish work at half-three to get here.”
Ulster Council PRO John Connolly said in a brief comment: “The fixture was made, the venue was fixed, and that was it.”
But Waterford man Ryan believes the arrangements for the U21 final reflect the Ulster Council’s commitment to the promotion of hurling within the province.
“It shows to me a bit about how some people think about hurling in Ulster,” he said.
“It shows what CCC and anyone else in Ulster Council thinks of an Ulster U21 Hurling final.”