Carlow GAA announced on Sunday morning that the Senior Hurling Championship semi-final between Ballinkillen and Naomh Moling scheduled for that afternoon had been called off.
In a statement released on Sunday evening, the Ballinkillen club said that it had informed the county board that it would be unable to fulfil the fixture due to player welfare concerns.
Five Ballinkillen players had been involved with the Kildavin panel which played in an intermediate football semi-final on Saturday evening. That match between Kildavin and Naomh Eoin had only been fixed for Saturday six days earlier.
"There are five Ballinkillen hurlers involved with the Kildavin panel and the club took the view that to ask players to play two important matches within 18 hours of one another was unjust, against player welfare and against the player development pathway," reads the statement from the club.
Given the fact that only five weekends had been set aside all year as hurling weeks it is unprecedented that a senior hurling semi-final would be disrupted in this way. It is one thing for a football fixture to encroach on a Monday or Tuesday of a hurling week, but for a match involving senior and intermediate hurlers to be re-fixed the evening before a senior semi-final is unacceptable.
This weekend should have been a special occasion for our club. Ballinkillen has not reached a senior semi-final for several years, and a huge amount of voluntary work has been put in at juvenile level and with this group of players in order to make progress. It is deeply disappointing to us that team preparations have been disrupted all week, culminating in this morning’s announcement that the senior semi-final has been postponed.
We have communicated to the County Board all week, up to and including late last night, attempting to find a resolution. Alternative dates were proposed that would allow both fixtures go ahead without compromising player welfare. Unfortunately, none of these suggestions have been taken on board. We have therefore informed the County Board that we cannot fulfil today’s fixture and have again requested the fixture to be rescheduled. We take this decision in the interests of player welfare and for the greater good of Carlow hurling and appeal to the better judgement of the County Board.
Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile