Cold snap between GAA and GPA grows

The GAA yesterday said they will hear the GPA’s concerns after they hung the threat of strike over yesterday’s Bank Holiday Monday games.

In a statement on Sunday evening, the official inter-county players’ body said they would back squads unwilling to play yesterday because of a lack of consultation with players regarding the rescheduling.

The decision was largely taken out of their hands with all but one of the five football games being called off for a second time due to unplayable pitches.

The GAA spokesperson yesterday responded: “The channels of communication remain open with the GPA, and if there are points they want to make during the week they can obviously do so. We encountered freakish weather in recent weeks. We will endeavour to finish out the competitions as soon as possible and the CCCC will be announcing re-fixtures on Tuesday.”

Part of the GPA statement read: “Notwithstanding the recent inclement weather conditions creating considerable challenges for the CCCC (Central Competitions Control Committee) with regard to rescheduling of games, the GPA consider it wholly unacceptable that no consultation was made with players beforehand.

“It would appear that little or no consideration was given to players who have contractual obligations to their employers to fulfil. Furthermore, many of our players have personal or family arrangements for tomorrow which must now be changed at short notice.

“The GPA will be supporting a number of squads who have outlined their commitment not to fulfil their fixtures due to players unavailability. We have this evening contacted the GAA outlining our support for these squads and requesting that the CCCC find an alternative arrangement for these games.”

The GPA also pointed out that over 70% of football panels were against the revised fixture schedule introduced this year and called for the GAA to review the decision “in the interest of welfare of our members”.

It hasn’t yet been ruled out that depending on results next weekend some Division 2 and 4 final round football games that would be of no consequence could be cancelled.

Meanwhile, Tipperary secretary Tim Floyd fears the county will face major fixtures chaos later in the year should either or both of their senior teams reach divisional finals next month. The snow flurries over the weekend meant both of the county’s fixtures, the footballers’ Division 2, Round 6 clash against Down in Newry and the hurlers’ Division 1 quarter-final with Dublin in Parnell Park, were postponed.

It was hoped that the hurling game would go ahead yesterday but it, along with the Division 4 football games in Aughrim (Wicklow-Limerick) and Ardmore (Waterford-Leitrim), was postponed for a second time.

However, Floyd is concerned progress into either final for Tipperary will mean great difficulty for the county in getting their fixtures schedule completed in time for the Munster competitions later in the year. Both finals are expected to be played on April 7 or 8, a weekend that had already been assigned as a club championship weekend by Tipperary.

“If we into a league final or an All-Ireland final, it will be a dilemma. Because of the system we have in Tipperary with divisional championships leading into county we probably have double the number of rounds most counties have so we need more Sundays.

“For that reason, there isn’t too much sympathy for Tipperary. It’s our own problem and we have to face up for it.”

As a dual county, Tipperary are fearful of the changes made to the fixtures calendar.

“It isn’t as if we didn’t warn this could happen but we have just to get on with it now,” said Floyd.

“The league is going to eat into the month of April. We could be in two league finals.”

Mayo should discover more today about the fitness of Cillian O’Connor and Lee Keegan before Sunday’s crucial Division 1 clash against Donegal in Ballybofey.

O’Connor’s hamstring problem, which saw him helped off the field, will require further assessment, while Keegan is receiving specialist opinion and will have imaging on his shoulder injury today.

The former footballer of the year also had to be removed from the field in the heavy defeat to Tyrone in Castlebar. Mayo need a point to avoid relegation at the expense of Donegal. 

Andy Moran is not expected to face a proposed retrospective ban for shoving his chest into referee Maurice Deegan after the player questioned a decision on Sunday.

Although it has been likened to Diarmuid Connolly’s push on Ciarán Branagan which saw the Dubliner banned for 12 weeks last year, Deegan issued a black card to Moran for what the Laois official is believed to have considered aggressive remonstration whereas no action was taken against Connolly at the time.

Dublin selector Jason Sherlock, though, could face an eight-week sideline ban for shouldering into the back of Galway’s Barry McHugh as he clashed with Ciarán Kilkenny in the counties’ draw in Salthill on Sunday.

* Kerry’s Mark O’Connor has been upgraded from the rookie list of AFL outfit Geelong Cats as a replacement for Quinton Narkle.

O’Connor, who captained Kerry to All-Ireland minor glory in 2015, made his AFL debut against Essendon in round eight, before going on to play a further match against the Western Bulldogs in 2017.

The junior Gaelic football star joined the Cats as a category B rookie in October 2016.


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