MAKING A STAND Carnacon LGFA are to appeal the Mayo LGFA decision to remove them from the 2018 Mayo league and championship competitions.Pic: Sportsfile
DEFENDING All-Ireland Ladies club football champions Carnacon say they are ‘devastated’ by the decision by the Mayo Ladies Football County Board to remove them from Mayo championship and league action for the 2018 season.
The club met last night (Wednesday) after Tuesday night’s meeting of the County Board where the decision was taken to remove Carnacon from both this competitions.
Carnacon LGFA this morning (Thursday) issued a statement.
“Understandably, the entire panel, management, club officers, our families and supporters are devastated by the sequence of events which have transpired.
“The club is in the process of preparing an appeal of this decision to lodge with the Connacht LGFA, so at this point in time we feel it would be inappropriate to comment any further.
“We hope you can understand our position and respect our decision.
“At the end of the day, all our members want is to play football and we hope to get this opportunity again in the not too distant future.
“We would like to thank the general public for their support and goodwill in this unprecedented situation,” said the club’s statement.
The sanction was imposed at Tuesday night’s monthly meeting of the Mayo Ladies Football County Board in Castlebar after the withdrawal of all eight Carnacon players from the Mayo ladies senior squad in July.
Eight Carnacon players and four players from other clubs left the county panel days before Mayo’s championship clash with Cavan. Two selectors, one from Carnacon. also stepped aside.
A Carnacon representative told Mayo manager Peter Leahy at that time that all of their players were withdrawing from the panel.
In a statement through the WGPA on Tuesday, July 10, after the story had broken in The Mayo News, the group of departing players cited ‘player welfare issues that are personal and sensitive to the players involved’ as their reason for withdrawing.
Among those to leave were ten-time All Star winner, Cora Staunton, and Mayo captain Sarah Tierney as well as selectors Michael McHale and Denise McDonagh.
Last Tuesday’s meeting of the Board in the TF Hotel in Castlebar ruled that Carnacon had brought the game into disrepute, citing Rule 288 of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association Official Guide.
That rule states that “Any member of the Association found guilty of conduct calculated to bring the Association into disrepute shall be liable to expulsion or suspension by the Committee, Board or Council concerned.”
Mayo Ladies Gaelic County Board Secretary Kevin McDonnell told The Mayo News that Tuesday night’s meeting had heard an update on the mediation process which followed on from the withdrawal of the players last month.
He said the Mayo LGFA gave delegates ‘as much information as we could under the confines of the confidentiality agreement that was in place’.
Mr McDonnell also explained that some questions had followed from delegates and that ‘it was the feeling of the meeting that some action needed to be taken’.
“Various options were discussed and it was decided that they had brought the game into disrepute,” he said.
Mr McDonnell said a vote was then held and delegates and officers voted 29 to 4 that Carnacon had brought the game into disrepute.
He said the meeting then moved onto a sanction and that it was proposed to disqualify their senior team from club league and club championship for 2018.
This was overwhelmingly passed, 26-2 with a number of spoiled votes also.
When asked why the sanction was unique to Carnacon and their players, and not to other players from other clubs who had withdrawn from the Mayo panel, Mr McDonnell said their withdrawal was somewhat different.
“Other players left of an individual nature for personal reasons. Carnacon withdrew their players – they contacted the county manager and withdrew their services. That is what it was seen by the meeting as having brought the game into disrepute. It was the action of the club rather than its players,” he said.
While there is a rule in the Ladies Gaelic Official Guide that allows county boards to impose a six month ban for any player who refuses to play for their county team, Mr McDonnell said this did not apply as ‘personal reasons’ were cited by the non-Carnacon players.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday, Carnacon club secretary Beatrice Casey said the club stood by their decision to withdraw their eight players from the Mayo squad last month.
“Our girls had genuine concerns and genuine issues that they felt were being overlooked and that’s why we got involved as a club,” she said.
Kevin McDonnell said that the Mayo LGFA board will have to review what will happen to games in league and championship that Carnacon have already played this year, but he admitted that is all subject to any appeal by Carnacon.
Carnacon received notification of the sanction imposed on them yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) and have five days to appeal to the Connacht Council.
Carnacon were due to play their next Mayo senior club championship game against Castlebar Mitchels on or before September 16.
Carnacon have won every Mayo Ladies SFC this millennium with Hollymount in 1999 the last team before them to lift the county title.
Carnacon have won six All-Ireland titles since then.
The Mayo ladies senior team defeated Cavan and lost to Dublin in the All-Ireland round-robin series. They were knocked out of the championship by Galway at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage earlier this month.