Mostrim GAA have launched an appeal against what they describe as their ‘harsh’ expulsion from the Longford junior ‘A’ football championship.
Mostrim secured their place in the final against Killoe Emmet Óg with a 1-11 to 2-3 victory over Colmcille on Wednesday, September 2 at Monaduff.
However, Colmcille subsequently lodged an objection with Longford County Board querying the eligibility of one of the Mostrim players - Benny Dempsey, who scored 0-7 in that semi-final.
The Longford Competition Controls Committee (CCC), chaired by Eugene Murtagh, dealt with the objection and they ruled the player was ineligible, thereby imposing a suspension of twelve weeks on the player and in accordance with rule, they also threw Mostrim out of the championship.
Mostrim Chairperson Tony Garvey said they were disappointed by the decision and felt it was ‘harsh treatment on the player’ and ‘a big penalty for the club to pay for a genuinely innocent oversight’.
He confirmed that Mostrim are appealing the CCC’s decision to the Leinster Council Hearings Committee, chaired by John Byrne (Carlow), and that hearing was due to take place last night (Tuesday, September 22) in Croke Park.
Usually, appeals are heard at Leinster Council HQ in Portlaoise but with the National Ploughing Championships taking place in Ratheniska just a few miles away, the venue was switched.
Mr Garvey explained that the player concerned played with Ballymore last year, where he played intermediate football as a sub, and transferred to Mostrim ahead of the 2015 season getting underway.
Since Mostrim are a club with senior status the player transferring would have needed to have been regraded to make him eligible to play junior.
“Benny only played a few minutes intermediate with Ballymore last year and we (Mostrim club) didn’t know about that.
“He believed he was okay to play junior with us and to be honest, he played in five or six games. We didn’t know then, but we now know, he was playing illegally,” stated Mr Garvey.
He pointed out that on the GAA’s club player transfer form, unlike the inter-county form, there is no mention of grading and he argued that the issue of grading needs to be ‘highlighted better’ on the club transfer form. Mr Garvey continued, “We made a mistake but considering grading isn’t mentioned on the club player transform form, I wouldn’t be surprised if we aren’t the only club that has played a player illegally or has suffered because of this.
“We are disappointed to have been thrown out of the championship and hopefully our appeal to Leinster will be successful.”
Mr Garvey concluded, “I see on the County Board fixtures list it says Colmcille or Mostrim in the final, so maybe that’s a good sign. But if we are not successful, then I wish Colmcille the best of luck in the final.”
Originally, the Flynn & Lynch Life & Pensions sponsored Junior ‘A’ Football Championship Final was fixed for Sunday, September 13 but following Colmcille’s objection it had to be rescheduled.
At the moment, the junior final, Killoe Emmet Óg v Colmcille or Mostrim, is pencilled in as the 2pm curtain raiser to the Peter Hanley Motors Senior Football Final between Killoe Emmet Óg and Abbeylara (which throws-in at 4pm and will be refereed by Derek Fahy) on Sunday, October 4.