Ballybricken-Bohermore were awarded the Limerick Junior B Football League title in bizarre circumstances as a pitch mix-up created confusion in Na Piarsaigh’s GAA grounds this Thursday evening.
Originally scheduled for a 7.30 throw-in, the game itself was delayed as an underage blitz was taking place on the pitch.
Ballysteen had originally turned up, but left the Caherdavin venue when it appeared that the pitch was occupied.
Referee Donnacha O’Callaghan (Feohanagh) made the decision at 8pm that the game wouldn’t go ahead and the trophy was awarded to Ballybricken-Bohermore.
Speaking afterwards, Ballybricken-Bohermore club secretary Maria Owens said, “Basically, it’s a Junior B county final. Ballybricken turned up, the referee was here. Unfortunately, we waited but Ballysteen didn’t come to the pitch so we were awarded the cup, which we would have preferred to play for. There’s a great challenge match going on now as the boys are playing amongst themselves. It’s disappointing. It was fixed for tonight, we’re here tonight to play them. They knew it was on and unfortunately, I suppose – that’s the way it goes. There’s great pride in them. They’re a great bunch of lads. They trained all year long for this and their heart was really in it. Hopefully we’ll go further. Onwards and upwards and into the Championship.”
Ballybricken-Bohermore manager Alan Stack believes the pitch was only a minor issue and a match was there to be played.
“We trained for this. We turned up for this. We turned up to play a match but unfortunately the opposition didn’t turn up. Nothing we can do. The pitch became available as you can see. The pitch has been available since 8 o’clock. There’s twenty-eight players there now having a match since 8 o’clock, having a training session – so the pitch was available. It’s not the way we want to win it, but it wasn’t our decision. We’ve players here that are working hard and training hard. They stayed on and they’re having a training match. It’s a situation that happened that maybe shouldn’t have arisen, but the decision wasn’t ours.”
Ballysteen GAA Twitter explained their stance.
‘We arrived at the venue at 6.45, where we were told on numerous occasion by the County Board officials there was no game going ahead. Na Piarsaigh officials also confirmed the pitch was not booked and other games were commencing on the fields and our players (along with county board gate collectors) left the venue which was end of matter as far as we were concerned.
The matter it appears will now go to the Limerick CCC