Limerick’s u-turn on football seeding controversy

Limerick's  Padraig Browne in action against Killian Young, of Kerry, in the 2010 Munster senior football final at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney
LIMERICK football board has made a sharp u-turn on the Munster football seeding controversy and is now calling for a return to the open draw that has been in place for all but one season since 1991.

LIMERICK football board has made a sharp u-turn on the Munster football seeding controversy and is now calling for a return to the open draw that has been in place for all but one season since 1991.

Despite claims that it’s a done deal, the saga of the Munster football seeded draw isn’t over yet as player power showed its face at an emergency meeting of the Limerick County Football Board on Tuesday evening.

Following the adverse reaction to the recent decision to reintroduce seeding by the Munster Council, Limerick football delegates were called to the Woodlands Hotel in Adare to listen to a letter from the county footballers. Signed on behalf of the squad by 2013 captain Seanie Buckley, they expressed their huge dissatisfaction at returning to a system which would keep automatic semi-finalists Cork and Kerry apart until the final.

A second letter was even more to the point. Drafted after a joint meeting of the Limerick, Clare, Waterford and Tipperary senior football panels, it stated that the Munster Council delegates were not acting on a clear mandate, rubbished claims that a seeded draw would financially benefit the Council, called for the decision giving unfair advantage to Cork and Kerry to be reconsidered and warned that failure to do so would lead to further action. Among steps believed to be under consideration is a boycott of the 2014 Munster championship by the current inter-county footballers in the other four counties.

Even without the players making their feelings known, the mood was already loaded against a return to a system that delivered 40 Cork-Kerry finals in the forty-two championships of the seeded draw era. And unlike the board’s previous meeting on the 10th of July which attracted representatives from just five clubs, at least 18 sent delegates, among them county footballer Pa Ranahan, to this meeting.

Every one of them that spoke called for the Munster Council’s decision to be rescinded.

A proposal by Stephen Kennelly (St Kierans) and seconded by Jim Barry (Dromcollogher-Broadford) instructing the Limerick delegates to voteto overturn the seeded draw was passed unanimously. This now goes forward to Wednesday night’s meeting of the County Board Executive and, if supported there, will be brought to the Munster Council the following evening.

While three (or four if Waterford decide to oppose rather than abstain) of the province’s six counties want to revert to the open draw, it may still require a two-thirds majority to overturn the original decision. However, the clear warning from the footballers of the Limerick, Clare, Waterford and Tipperary may hasten a decision that has to be made before next week’s televised draw for the All-Ireland and provincial senior championships.

The Munster Council are to meet again tonight (Thursday, September 26).