Monaghan hurlers support manager and refuse to play


MONAGHAN HAVE confirmed their withdrawal from Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division Three A final in Tullamore – thus affording Dublin regional team Fingal a walkover.

The problem in Monaghan reached crisis point last Friday when hurling manager Mattie Lennon resigned after the county board refused to reschedule some local intermediate football fixtures, set for this evening.

Lennon’s panel, many of whom are dual players, then threatened a complete withdrawal of services unless the conflict was resolved, forcing county board officials to address the issue on Monday night. But a statement released yesterday suggested the stand-off had in fact worsened: “The Monaghan senior hurling team management resigned on Friday, April 6th, last.

“The senior hurling panel met over the weekend and informed Coiste Chontae Mhuineacháin that they were not available to play in the Allianz Hurling League Division 3A Final (Monaghan v Fingal) on Sunday April 15th.

“Arising from that decision Coiste Chontae Mhuineacháin CLG have notified An Lár Coiste Cheannais na gComortais­ that Monaghan will not be fulfilling the fixture. There will be no further statement from Coiste Chontae Mhuineacháin CLG.”

Scheduling club football games four days before their Division Three A hurling final appears to be only part of the problem in Monaghan – as a lengthy statement released by the players on Monday, through the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), outlined further grievances.

“The county board has also refused to give a guarantee to the county hurling squad that a four-day preparation period before Nicky Rackard Cup games would be afforded to the squad. The Rackard Cup commences on May 5th, and ends with the final a month later on June 9th.

“Mattie Lennon was appointed as Monaghan senior hurling manager in December 2011 and was given assurances by the board that they were committed to the promotion and development of hurling within the county.

“On learning of the impasse the county hurling squad met and a unanimous decision was taken to support the management decision as we felt it was grossly unfair of the board not to facilitate this short-term dual commitment.

“We believe this decision by the Monaghan County Board contravenes the GAA’s stated commitment to hurling contained in the recently published Hurling Development Plan.

“Also the proposed scheduling of fixtures during the Rackard Cup is also a welfare issue and in conflict with the association’s commitment to tackle player burnout.”

With no apparent solution in sight, it now seems inevitable Monaghan will also withdraw from the Nicky Rackard Cup – and this just a week after the Longford hurlers failed to field in a League Division Three B game.

Either way it makes for a unsatisfactory end to the campaign for Fingal who were looking to gain revenge after losing to Monaghan earlier this season, in a game designed as the curtain-raiser to the Dublin-Galway Division One relegation play-off. Fingal, however, are now set to be promoted.