Louth move on but sense of injustice persists

Thu, Jul 15, 2010, 01:00

LEINSTER SFC FINAL NEWS:SO THE final whistle has blown on the 2010 Leinster football final – about four days later than it should have. Louth’s decision yesterday evening “to take no further action” regarding the outcome of Sunday’s game means Meath will progress as Leinster champions, in name anyway, and the furore over a refixture, the referee’s report and other reasons why the result shouldn’t stand also comes to an end, at least for now.

However, Louth didn’t let the matter go without expressing their sense of injustice surrounding last Sunday’s events in Croke Park, nor that they felt they may have had several avenues open to further appeal the result, although not the legal avenue.

The executive of the county committee met in Bellingham Castle in Louth around teatime yesterday and afterwards issued a lengthy statement outlining, first, why the county as a whole was moving on, but also why there would still be some bitterness as to how things turned out over the last four days.

“In relation to incidents which occurred during and after the Leinster football final on Sunday July 11th, the executive committee of the Louth County Board have met on a number of occasions to discuss the events of the day and correspondence pertaining to same.”

The statement then highlighted two key issues (see panel) in relation to the referee’s report and the awarding of the game which the Louth county executive felt should be addressed in the wider picture.

The statement then continued: “Despite the fact that there are several avenues open to us to question the result, we believe we have a responsibility to our members and supporters alike to display leadership on this issue and to move forward to the qualifiers.”

Louth also made it clear they hadn’t pursued any legal route, despite claiming in an earlier statement they were considering all options: “At no stage did we have a legal representative present at any of our deliberations and we would also like to state that at no stage did we consider legal proceedings on the matter.”

Louth then expressed their overall feelings of disappointment on the matter, while at the same time putting some context into the situation by expressing their sympathy to those involved in the tragic car accidents in Donegal.

“The sense of injustice which is being felt in Louth GAA is enormous. However, the executive committee of the Louth County Board, the senior team management and players have decided to take no further action regarding the outcome of the Leinster football championship final.

“On behalf of Louth GAA we would take this opportunity to congratulate our players and team management on a magnificent performance on Sunday, and wish them every success in the remainder of the championship. We would also take this opportunity to thank our loyal supporters who turned out in their thousands to cheer our team on, and we would encourage them to continue with their loyal support in the remainder of the championship.

“We have already condemned the disgraceful scenes which occurred post-match and we would reiterate that there is no place for those individuals within our organisation. We wish the Meath players and management every success in their campaign.

“Louth have had over the years a long and proud history of promoting the best interests of the GAA and will continue to strive to do so on and off the field of play.

“Finally in light of the tragic events which occurred in Donegal over the weekend, we realise that we must put our situation in context and we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those deceased.”

So this brings endgame to the 2010 Leinster final, following on from Meath’s statement on Tuesday night where they declined the offer of a refixture, claiming at the same time that they their “disappointment at the manner in which we and the management and squad have been placed in such an unenviable position over the past two days”.

Louth on the disputed goal

1. Goalmouth incident at the end of match:The referee has indicated in his report that he blew the whistle for a penalty, but then changed his mind and awarded a goal instead, which is contrary to Playing Rules. We also fail to understand why the referee did not consult with both umpires in relation to the goal being awarded, which is also contrary to guidance given to referees in such controversial circumstances. In the light of this and the clear admission in the referee’s report that he “made a terrible mistake”, the referee’s report therefore is questionable.

2. Rule 6.41 Award/facts of game: the award of the game rests with the committee/council in charge acting on the referee’s report.We would contend that the committee/ council in charge erred in leaving the matter to Meath County Board to offer a replay, without seeking clarification from the referee in relation to his match report and his statement “he made a terrible mistake”.