Mourneabbey ladies footballers are cleared to defend their Munster title

Mourneabbey ladies footballers are cleared to defend their Munster title

Doireann O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, shoots past Sarah Hayes, West Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

RELIEF for Mourneabbey as they received an email late on Thursday night to confirm they were to be allowed to enter the Munster Senior Ladies football championship.

Late last week the defending Munster champions, who are going for their seventh title in-a-row, were not going to be included as they hadn't won the Cork championship.

They lost out to West Cork in the final. Normally the club side that loses the final goes forward to represent the county as divisional sides can't.

So it looked like they were going to lose their Munster title on a technical matter rather than on the pitch.

They appealed this decision to the Ladies Gaelic Football Association who met online and deemed that Mourneabbey could go forward.

Correspondence received from the LGFA late last night stated: “The Management Committee of Central Council discussed correspondence from the Mourneabbey Club requesting that their situation be dealt with under Rule 261 of the Official Guide at a management meeting tonight. 

"As the Management Committee are currently acting under Rule 248 of the Official Guide they deemed Mourneabbey to be innocent of a breach of rule under 261.

“As the Cork County Board breached Rule 190 of the Official Guide in the organisation of the Cork Senior Championship a penalty of €1000 was imposed on the board by the committee under Rule 261. Cork County Board must abide by the rules of the Official Guide in organising future competitions. In light of the above Mourneabbey will progress to the Munster Senior Club Championship.” 

The reference in the ruling to Cork Ladies Football Board refers to the fact that the West Cork divisional side appear to have been an 'illegal' team in the competition.

They entered the championship in good faith and as far as they were concerned there had done nothing wrong. The problem arose in that under general rule they had too many club teams involved in the divisional side as it now appears that you can only have three to make up a team.

No fault lies with West Cork or their management in this matter.

When this came to light credit to the Cork Ladies Football Board they organised a club only senior championship, which was due to start this weekend, to try and resolve the matter.

At an online meeting last night of that board this matter was discussed and a decision on whether that championship would go ahead was put back until tomorrow. It now looks unlikely that it will after the ruling by the LGFA.

Manager of Mourneabbey, Shane Ronayne, said they are delighted the matter is resolved.

“It has been a stressful week or so for all involved with Mourneabbey. We were disappointed to have lost the county final, but we also thought we had a Munster championship to drive on and retain that title.

“Then we heard that we weren't allowed to enter, so we were shocked at this. We appealed this ruling to the LGFA and thankfully they ruled in our favour last night.

“It is important to stress that we have no issue with West Cork whatsoever. They were the better team on the day of the final and they entered the championship in good faith and they did nothing wrong.

“Some senior clubs, including us, did query in 2019 if they could enter with the number of clubs they had but Cork County Board said all was ok. So we drove on as did all sides but it now appears they can't have that amount of clubs involved.

“As far as Mourneabbey are concerned we can drive on now and try to retain our Munster title,” concluded Shane.

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