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  • GAA

Club criticism forces Croke Park u-turn on under 21 change

Wednesday, 6th March, 2019 11:05am
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Club criticism forces Croke Park u-turn on under 21 change

Kilruane MacDonaghs Luke Dervan and Ballina's Conor Bourke tussle for possession. PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE

Club criticism forces Croke Park u-turn on under 21 change

Kilruane MacDonaghs Luke Dervan and Ballina's Conor Bourke tussle for possession. PHOTO: ODHRAN DUCIE

By Liam Hogan

 

Last Thursday’s North Tipperary Under-21 'B' Football final between Kilruane MacDonaghs and Ballina attracted much attention nationally because of new regulations imposed by the GAA on the day of the game.

Croke Park informed the teams that a decision taken at a Central Council meeting at Congress the previous Saturday meant under 17's could not play at under 21 level, despite the fact both Kilruane MacDonaghs and Ballina had played sixteen year olds in the semi-finals as per the old rule.

Ballina defied the ruling by playing their five players but Kilruane MacDonaghs acceded to the new ruling.

I didn’t think it was going to effect this final,” said Kilruane PRO Gilbert Williams commenting on the confusion.

We decided we would comply with the direction even though we were not happy with it. The selectors had the team picked and it involved at least five players, two of them would have been starting."

Ddefeated North finalists Ballina had no regrets about deciding not to abide by the new ruling imposed that week, in many ways forcing the GAA hierarchy to make the change back to the old, even if they were the ones to suffer the most.

Ballina manager Aaron Devane said they decided to play their under 17s because it is important “that clubs take a stand”.

It is a bit farcical that these decisions are made mid championship,” he said.

The way I look at it is that the lads that played (tonight Thursday) are going to be seventeen this year. Why deprive any young lad from playing a game with his own club. I think the clubs are going eventually lose out unless we take a stand."

 

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