GALWAY GAA chiefs have confirmed they will play the All-Ireland U21HC final at Semple Stadium on Saturday.
Western officials claimed opponents Tipperary have an unfair advantage on their home pitch but Croke Park remained steadfast in their decision to keep the game in Thurles.
Galway hurling board chairman Joe Byrne expressed outrage at the decision and said that board members had been ‘hounded’ by Galway supporters and clubs not to play the match. It had been proposed to hold an emergency meeting of clubs last night to discuss a possible boycott of the fixture but officials instead decided to go ahead with the fixture.
“We are very unhappy with the way all this has been handled and we want all of that examined but for now it is a matter on concentrating on the game on Saturday. We are very angry about the whole matter,” said Byrne.
Meanwhile Tipperary full-back John Coghlan will fight to clear his name ahead of the tie after the Central Competitions Control Committee upgraded the yellow card he received in the semi-final win over Antrim to a red.
Coghlan has requested a hearing from the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee in bid to play at the weekend. Tipperary GAA chiefs were still awaiting confirmation last night about when the hearing will take place, but it looks likely to happen either tonight or tomorrow night. Tipperary boss Ken Hogan criticised the delay in informing Coghlan of his suspension and described the decision ‘as devastating news’ for the player.
“We’re really perplexed as to why we’ve only just found out about the CCCC decision”, said Hogan. “We played Antrim on August 21 and it’s taken until now to be told. The challenge was an accidental one, the Antrim player got up and played on, and there was no big deal made of it. We don’t think it’s fair.
“It’s devastating news for John. John doesn’t have a bad bone in his body, he’s a hugely committed player and he’s put in a fierce effort into the U21 grade in both hurling and football this year, winning two Munster medals.
“It’s very tough on the lad to think that he could now miss out on an All-Ireland final. But we’re going to challenge it and even though there isn’t much time until the game, we’re hopeful John can be eligible.”
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