Royals reluctant to offer Louth replay

Updated: Wednesday, 14 Jul 2010 08:05

Meath players aren't keen on relinquishing the Delaney Cup they won on Sunday
Meath players aren't keen on relinquishing the Delaney Cup they won on Sunday

Louth’s hopes of a second bite at the Leinster title have been dealt a blow with the news that the vast majority of Meath players are opposed to offering the Wee County a replay.

The Royal County’s Leinster final win against Louth on Sunday sparked a public outcry and a large numbers of analysts and commentators have also called for a replay to be arranged.

An injury-time goal that never was - or rather never should have been - from Joe Sheridan earned Meath a 1-12 to 1-10 win over a profligate Louth side at Croke Park. Sheridan illegitimately carried the ball into the net in the dying seconds of the match.

Referee Martin Sludden has been roundly criticised for both failing to spot that Sheridan violated the rules and for his minimal use of the umpires behind the Louth goal. The Tyrone arbitrator has since admitted to the error.

Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick described himself as 'devastated' after the game.

Speaking to RTE Sport's Martin Kiely he said: 'I'm absolutely devastated about the decision the referee has made. I just think it is wrong what happened.'

He added: 'If the CCCC (Central Competitions Control Committee) or (GAA President) Christy Cooney have any decency at all they will have to do something. That was just daylight robbery. For the referee to do that to us, it is totally out of order.'

A magnanimous gesture from Meath appeared to have been Louth's best hope of justice as there's nothing in the GAA's rules that would allow the Leinster Council to call for a replay.

The Meath County Board met for over two hours on Monday night without arriving at a resolution and are scheduled to discuss the matter with players and management again later this evening.

The county board is expected to take its lead from the team and Brian Carthy’s revelation on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland that the players met yesterday and voted ‘almost unanimously’ against a replay makes the prospect of such an event ever more remote.

Former Meath star Bernard Flynn believes that those in officialdom have abdicated their responsibility somewhat, saying: ‘To leave the decision down to the manager and players is absolutely wrong.’