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Controversy In Féile Underage Game Ends With Sit-In Protest In Front Of GAA President

Controversy In Féile Underage Game Ends With Sit-In Protest In Front Of GAA President
By Gavin Cooney Updated

The words "sit-down protest" and "Offaly" conflate once again.

Famously, the 1998 All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Offaly and Clare was blown three minutes early by referee Jimmy Cooney, and amid the furor, the defeated people of Offaly invaded Croke Park to stage a sit-in protest. They got their wish, a replay was ordered, extending the GAA's greatest saga for another week.

While this is unlikely to echo through time like '98 forever will, a Féile Under-14 competition involving an Offaly team ended in controversy this weekend. St Broughan's of Offaly were facing Cavan's Gowna in a Division 1 Shield Final.

Gowna won the game by a point, but St Broughan's believe that they had a legitimate point awarded by the umpire, only for it to not be registered on the score board.

The Offaly Express report that the club staged a sit-in as protest.

An irate official from the Offaly club spoke to Midlands 103 after the game, confirming that she had confronted the onlooking GAA president over the controversy, claiming that Gowna had claimed a "tarnished shield":

I went up to the presentation stand and I spoke to the GAA President, Aogán Ó Fearghaíl. The President of the GAA fobbed me off. He told me that he was going by the referee.

I also went to the Gowna management and asked them not to proceed with the presentation because we all know that this game was a draw. We had a point that wasn't put on the scoreboard and everybody knows it wasn't put on the scoreboard.

This is not a Mickey Mouse match - this is a final and our children have played their hearts out. This is all about sportsmanship and fairness but there is nothing fair about walking away with a win that is not a win - it's a draw.

All we asked for was extra time, and that would have been fair, but Gowna have gone home with a tarnished Shield - they didn't win.

She concluded her angry call by invoking the Spirit of '98: "Offaly people sat on the pitch in 1998 due to unfairness and Offaly people will sit in Breffni Park* here today and we will right this wrong".

*Kingspan Breffni.

See Also: Any More Shocks On The Cards This Weekend? Follow All The GAA Live Here!


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