Antrim clubs hit hard


The Antrim county board's severe response to last month's county football final was confirmed last night when county secretary Eamonn McMahon released the board's list of sanctions. As well as the suspension from all adult competition this and next year, a range of individual suspensions have been imposed on the Cargin and St Paul's clubs, ranging from two months to two years.

Appeals based on the suspensions will have to go to the provincial council but there has been nothing formally lodged yet. The Ulster council's appeals committee actually met earlier this week but none of its business related to the Antrim final.

It has been reported that members of the Cargin club have been considering pursuing its future in Derry as it is based in Toomebridge on the border between Antrim and Derry. However, Danny Murphy, chairman of the Ulster Council, appeared to pour cold water on this scheme.

"The only way a provincial council can consider a redrawing of the boundaries is if it is requested by a county. And there is no mechanism to allow a club move from one side of a boundary to the other," he said.

Given that the Antrim county board is unlikely to make any such request, Cargin appear stuck where they are. The range of punishments is bound to have major repercussions for the county team with some of Antrim's leading players facing 18 months without club activity as transfers are hardly likely to be sanctioned.