DISMISSED CLAIMS Connacht GAA Council Secretary John Prenty. Pic: Sportsfile
Rumblings that there was something untoward going on during the televised draw for the 2021 Connacht senior football championship yesterday evening (Monday) have been rubbished by Connacht GAA chief, John Prenty.
The draw (which took place on primetime TV during the Six-One news programme) saw defending champions Mayo pitted against Sligo in the quarter-finals.
When Connacht GAA Council President, Sligo’s John Murphy, was selecting their semi-final opponents, he touched one canister in one of the bowls being used for the draw, before picking another. This led to a stream of conspiracy theories on various social media platforms.
However, speaking to The Mayo News today (Tuesday), Connacht GAA Council Secretary John Prenty dismissed the claims and told The Mayo News it would be ‘impossible’ to rig the draw.
Prenty said that any hesitancy during the televised event was probably down to timing instructions from the RTÉ floor manager.
“I haven’t heard anyone complaining,” said Prenty.
“I haven’t spoken to John (Murphy) since the draw, but it looked to me as if he was moving too fast for the floor manager and was told to wait a few seconds.
“It’s impossible to know what’s in each canister when the draw is actually done. Before they go live, the floor manager will run through four or five rehearsals where the canisters are opened and slips of paper are thrown out on the table each time.
“Even if you knew what canister a county was in at the beginning, you certainly wouldn’t know which one it’s in after the rehearsals.
“It would be a huge coincidence if they were in the same canister at the end as at the beginning.”
A number of high-profile GAA personalities have taken to social media to voice their criticism, including former Roscommon goalkeeper Shane Curran, former Leitrim star Emlyn Mulligan and ex-Laois footballer Colm Parkinson.
John Prenty went on to say that this year’s Connacht SFC draw is a very exciting one for the supporters of all counties, but dampened down any hopes of crowds packing into venues around the province later this summer.
“It would be a brilliant draw if we had the crowds. From a football point of view there’s something in it for everyone and from the financial side of things it would be brilliant.
“We wouldn’t have enough tickets to meet the demand, but there’s absolutely no possibility of crowds before the Connacht final at the very least and even then, it’s highly unlikely.
“ I cannot see crowds of any size returning before August. Hopefully we’ll have supporters back for the All Ireland series but nobody knows at the moment. We just have to wait and see,” he concluded.