Laois may avoid being kicked out of the championship

The role of the sideline official in permitting Laois’ use of seven subs against Armagh in Saturday’s qualifier may see them avoid being dumped out of the championship.

At their weekly meeting in Croke Park yesterday, the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) discussed the matter of Laois exceeding the maximum number of six replacements. A decision will be made today.

As rule 6.44 (b) of the GAA’s Official Guide states, on a proven objection a team exceeding the number of substitution permitted, in this case six, could see the game awarded to the opposing team, a replay or a fine “depending on the circumstances”. However, it also states following an inquiry by the committee-in-charge, the game can be forfeited without the award of game to the opposing team, or replay or fine again “depending on the circumstances”.

The CCCC are already in the process of carrying out that inquiry with it unclear if Armagh will contest the result. It is believed some players have already made plans to holiday and leave the country for the summer.

That the sideline official oversaw Laois’ use of a seventh substitute, Shane Murphy, a black card replacement for Brendan Quigley in the 73rd minute with less than 60 seconds of action remaining, may mitigate the case against Mick Lillis’ side. None of Laois’s six previous personnel switches were blood replacements, which would have explained why they were permitted to introduce seven new players. Their first substitute accrued in the 43rd minute when Alan Farrell came in for Darren Strong. Jamie Farrell was then introduced for Kevin Meaney in the 50th minute followed by Matthew Campion for Niall Donoher in the 52nd minute.

David Conway made way for Ross Munnelly in the 54th minute and Gary Walsh appeared in place of Paul Cahillane in the 58th minute. Gareth Dillon was brought on instead of Conor Meredith in the 70th minute before Shane Murphy replaced his namesake Brendan in additional time. RTÉ’s footage of the game also appears to show Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney attempting to raise as issue with a match official as Murphy entered the field in the final minute of action. McGeeney had earlier taken issue with the fourth official for incorrectly sanctioning the substitution of Tony Kernan. “The fourth official said the name ‘Micheál McKenna’ looked like Tony Kernan. That was the reason we were given,” said McGeeney, who returned Kernan to the fray shortly afterwards. “It seemed like a bit of a shambles to me but that was the just the way it turned out.”

Laois were yesterday drawn away to Clare in Round 2A with the game set to take place on July 2 or 3. Along with the other football and hurling qualifier, the date and time of the match was set to be confirmed by the CCCC in the afternoon but no announcement was forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the knee injury Austin Gleeson incurred playing for Mount Sion the weekend before last is unlikely to keep him out of next month’s Munster final. However, Darragh Fives faces a race against time to be fit for the clash against Tipperary after damaging his quad.

Gleeson picked up a knock in his club’s defeat to Roanmore last Sunday week. The previous day, the in-form Fives incurred his injury lining out for Tourin in their facile win over Fourmilewater in the western junior championship.

As expected, the Gaelic Grounds will host the Munster SHC final, the provincial council confirmed last night. The game, a repeat of last year’s decider between Tipperary and Waterford, will take place at the Ennis Rd venue at 4pm on July 10.

The time of the minor final will be confirmed at a later date.


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