Longford champions Fr Manning Gaels are to appeal Sunday's controversial defeat by Eire Og of Carlow. In a tightly-contested match, three incidents were contested but two in particular form the basis of the appeal. Leo Turley's first point for Eire Og and Longford forward Padraig Davis's kick which in the view of many crossed the bar but was disallowed had a huge impact on a match won by a point in favour of the Carlow side.
"We intend to appeal," said club chairman Frank McNamee. "We're going to send it to the Leinster Council together with supporting evidence. At the moment the video evidence isn't as much as we'd like it and we'd like to get shots from the other side of the pitch. But a lot of people have said that they thought Pdraig Davis's point was good."
Although the thrust of their appeal is that Turley's point was invalid and Davis's permissible - a combination which would turn the result on its head - the Drumlish club would be satisfied to play the match again.
"We would be happy with a replay but it's hard to know what the outcome will be. The referee is usually well backed-up on matters like this. One of the linesmen supposedly said it was a point but one of the umpires went to signal the score and then pulled back. The other who was in a better position signalled and the ref also seemed to expect it and he was well-enough placed to make his own decision but he let it go."
There is no official precedent governing this sort of situation. Three and a half years ago in the Leinster senior championship, the first round match between Laois and Carlow was replayed because of a disputed point which had given Laois victory.
Ironically Carlow's side that day featured many of the Eire Og players in action yesterday and the "point" in question was kicked by Michael Turley, a brother of Leo who recently and controversially transferred to the Carlow champions on the basis that he was living in Graiguecullen, one of those anomalous areas in the GAA which is part of the Gaelic games' administration of one county (in this case, Laois) and the municipal administration of another (Carlow).
The 1995 controversy was resolved because of the generosity of Laois who decided to offer Carlow a replay and the offer was accepted with Laois eventually winning out.
The most important point at issue was, however, the matter of precedent and the Leinster Council were at pains to spell out that no binding precedent had been set and that the original score and referee's report still stood but that Laois had been allowed make their offer.
McNamee said that Fr Manning Gaels had made no contact with Eire Og and so the question of this resolution again being pursued did not arise. "We haven't been talking to anybody in Carlow yet but we will be contacting them."
Seamus Donohue, secretary of Eire Og, confirmed yesterday evening that the club had heard nothing about an appeal. "We haven't heard anything and haven't even discussed it. We were delighted to win and it would have been a futile exercise for us to consider our position until we had heard from either the Leinster Council or Fr Manning Gaels."
Meanwhile, there is a row brewing in Mayo over the availability of county champions Ballina's players for the county team next weekend. After the weekend's grueling draw and replay win over All-Ireland champions Corofin on successive days, Ballina's manager Noel O'Dowd was reported as calling for the release of the club's county players from the panel for Sunday's final pre-Christmas NFL fixture with Kildare in Newbridge.
Centrefielders Liam McGale and David Brady plus the latter's brother Ger have all lined out for Mayo in this campaign so far. County manager John Maughan said that he was "mystified" at the public call as he had received no communication from the Ballina club and had enjoyed good relations with them in relation to player availability
"It's the first I've heard of it and I'm a little surprised that nobody has mentioned to me. I spoke to Noel O'Dowd a couple of weeks ago because he was naturally concerned about the training his players might be doing with the county and we agreed they wouldn't have to do any stamina training. Liam (McHale) didn't play against Laois because he had a basketball match the night before in Belfast and the journey would have been too long."
Finally, Tipperary champions Moyle Rovers' victory over Bantry Blues at the weekend has propelled them into odds-on status, 4 to 5, for the Munster club football championship. They are 6 to 1 for the All-Ireland behind market leaders Crossmaglen. The 1997 All-Ireland winners are 5 to 4 to regain the title.
Their hurling counterparts from two seasons ago, Athenry of Galway, are also favourites for next March's title. They can be got at 5 to 2.