The Ulster club quarter-final between Donegal champions St Eunan's and their Fermanagh counterparts Roslea is going ahead, according to Ulster CEO Danny Murphy, despite the Donegal championship being challenged before Croke Park's Central Appeals Committee by beaten semi-finalists Naomh Conaill.
“It’s not impacting on the fixtures at the weekend,” he told this newspaper.
“St Eunan’s will play Roslea and the winners will go on to the semi-final. The Donegal county board accepted the referee’s report and confirmed the final score in the game.
“When this was appealed to Ulster Council, the appeal was ruled out of order.”
Eunan’s defeated Glenswilly in the Donegal final and previously Naomh Conaill had lost to Glenswilly in the semi-finals but later objected because one of their opponents Ciarán Bonner was allowed to be replaced after receiving a black card despite having earlier received a yellow card, an accumulation which should have led to him being sent off with no replacement.
Naomh Conaill’s are seeking a re-match because of the refereeing error but precedents aren’t encouraging for the club, which is hoping to have their original appeal heard by the Ulster Council before Sunday’s quarter-final.
The case is similar to that which arose in a football match in Limerick in 2005 between Fr Casey’s and St Senan’s and gave rise to a challenge from the former, based on a refereeing error during the match.
The matter ended up before the Disputes Resolution Authority, which rejected the challenge on the following grounds.
“If Fr Casey’s are correct that there was a mistake in this case and that it changed the outcome of the game, then one must have sympathy for them.
However, even if they are right on both of these issues, this cannot allow for an erosion of the principle of referees’ control.
“How an error at any particular stage in a game will affect the outcome is something of an imponderable, and the fact that injustice will occasionally result from a blanket protection of referees’ decisions is a consequence that must be borne by all1. It is the lesser evil.”
The decision goes on to state that the only exception is if “a referee is shown to have had an improper motive amounting to a corruption of his role as an impartial arbiter of fact and rule”.
A decision on Naomh Conaill’s appeal is expected this weekend.