Junior captains Alie Lacey (Groody Gaels) and Amie Woods (Gerald Griffins)
WITH no sign of compromise, there will be a bizarre 9am throw-in for Saturday’s Limerick Junior Ladies Championship Football Final.
The early morning fixture between the St Patricks-Monaleen combination of Groody Gaels and Gerald Griffins left many aghast this week.
“While obviously unhappy with the manner in which our game was scheduled and what we believe was an inconsistent application of county board's policy of county final dates being 'set in stone', we believe we have made our point and will now turn all our focus to the game,” said a Gerald Griffins statement this Tuesday.
”We would like to thank everyone that has supported us in our stance and especially those across the GAA community far and wide. Some of you have advised us not to play the game but in the end it is ourselves that would lose out in that instance. The girls have sacrificed so much since the start of the season with the goal of reaching the county final. With that in mind we will be putting our heads down for the rest of the week as we finalise our preparations,” concluded Gerald Griffins.
So the junior final will take place in Knockainey at 9am on Saturday with officials of Limerick Ladies Football County Board insisting that their hands are tied and appealed for both clubs to compromise.
“As the winners do not proceed into the Munster Championship, there is no urgency in getting the fixture completed, Limerick Ladies football Board would still welcome a new date being agreed between both clubs that would allow for the throw in to take place at a more suitable time,” said a statement on Monday.
The Limerick statement sought to “clarify and provide context” after initial media reports of Gerald Griffins anger.
”At the August county board meeting, Groody Gaels notified all clubs that due to clash with an international women’s rugby tournament, Groody Gaels would request a new date for the junior final, should Groody Gaels reach the final. Every possible alternative date was suggested by Limerick Ladies Football board during protracted discussions at the September county board meeting, but Gerald Griffins could not accommodate any of several suggested new dates, between September 10 and December 31 - citing player availability. The county board were left with no option but to hold the final on September 16. In light of this, and to give both teams the best opportunity to field at full strength, the final has been fixed for 9am on Saturday September 16,” explained the statement.
Former Limerick ladies football captain Dymphna O’Brien led public outcry.
The 9am fixture is a one hour journey from the Loughill-Ballyhahill parish of Gerald Griffins and 35-minutes from the St Patricks-Monaleen base in the City.
O’Brien hit out, stating it would mean a 6am start for players in her team to have breakfast, prepare properly, travel to the venue and warm-up before throw-in.
“It says a lot about the respect that the powers that be at the County Board have for players, supporters and their families when they schedule a county final for 9am in the morning to facilitate a tag rugby event,” said O’Brien.
“I have no doubt this type of comical scheduling would not occur in any of the other major codes or in any other county only Limerick,” she said.
So with Saturday’s ladies football appearing likely to go ahead it will mean a hectic day for five Groody Gaels players. They are scheduled to line-out at 9am in Knockainey and then make their way to Cork to play tag rugby for Ireland in the British & Irish Tag Cup.
Ballylanders v Monagea
Saturday, September 16 in Bruff at 4.00
What a senior championship it has been so far…..
In the quarter finals Monagea overcame Mungret St Pauls in extra time and likewise Feohanagh-Castlemahon overcame Murroe-Boher after extra time.
The semi finals were a double-header in Mick Neville Park last Sunday evening and again more draws.
Three-in-a-row chasing Ballylanders defeated Feohanagh-Castlemahon after extra time and only two points separating them in the end.
Car headlights were used in fading daylight to assist players complete the second semi final between Monagea and last year’s beaten finalists St Ailbes.
The dramatic clash took almost three hours to complete! With the time approaching 8pm, vehicles in the car park facing onto the main pitch in Mick Neville Park turned on their headlights, as much to aid their viewing of the unfolding drama as to assist the players taking vital free-kicks, which decided the semi final. The sides were level after extra time then failed to seperate the teams. The semi final was then decided by five 30-metre free-kicks for both sides. The first half was then delayed for about 40-minutes as an ambulance was needed for an injured player.
Athea v St Brigids
Saturday September 16 in Bruff at 2.00
Athea lost this final last year to Dromcollogher-Broadford.
The west Limerick side have returned to the final unbeaten, defeating St Brigids in the group stages.
St Brigids defeated Knockainey and then Oola in their semi final last Sunday, 3-5 to 1-7.