JFC final deferred as Gracefield pledge to fulfill senior football fixture

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kevin@tullamoretribune.ie

THE Tullamore Court Hotel Junior Football Championship final between Doon and Edenderry has been deferred for a fortnight.

The final was originally fixed for this Saturday in Bord na Mona O'Connor Park but after agreement was reached between the two clubs, the Games Administration Committee have decided to put it back to Saturday, September 14.

It is understood that Doon had protested at the game being fixed for this Saturday, arguing that it had been down in the masters fixtures plan for last weekend and they had made plans according to that schedule.

The masters fixtures plan was released last March and is merely a guideline for clubs, not a binding document but once the clubs agreed, the GAC allowed the game to go back as the winners don't compete in Leinster (Offaly are represented in the Leinster Club Junior Football Championship by their intermediate champions) and it won't hold up anything else.

It means that the Senior Football Championship quarter-finals between Edenderry and Gracefield and Rhode v Ferbane have been changed back to their original venues this Saturday evening.

Edenderry v Gracefield was moved from Geashill to Tullamore as Edenderry were in both games but has now gone back to Geashill with Rhode and Ferbane back in headquarters.

There has also been rumours circulating last week that Gracefield were considering giving a walk over in their senior game but these were wide of the mark and their game with Edenderry will go ahead as fixed. If Gracefield gave a walkover and Cappincur lose to Shamrocks, then they could be in a play off for a quarter-final with Cappincur. The rumours were based on the fact that Gracefield might have a better chance of making the quarter-finals by conceding the points and hoping Cappincur lost but while a club is entitled to a second chance if they concede a walkover in the group stages, they can be thrown out for deliberately conceding one to gain an advantage.

In any event, Gracefield GAA chairman Pat Keegan told the Tribune on Monday that he was mystified about where the rumours had originated from. He stated that he had heard the rumours after the weekend but insisted that Gracefield would be fielding a team.

“I don't know where the rumours started. As far as I am concerned this will not happen. I spoke to our management team about it and they said they would not be part of anything like that.”

He confirmed that Gracefield would be understrength because of injuries while some players wanted to attend the Electric Picnic music festival in Stradbally but he declared: “If we have to put out our minor team, we will have a team on the field and that is the way it is. We will have some sort of team on the field.”

The group phase of the Senior, Senior “B” and Intermediate Football Championships will conclude this week while the penultimate round of their hurling counterparts took place last week.

There are football previews inside on pages 66 and 67 while reports from all four senior hurling games are on pages 60-63.

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