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Galway Manager Regrets Not Taking A Stand And Walking Off The Pitch

Galway Manager Regrets Not Taking A Stand And Walking Off The Pitch
By PJ Browne Updated
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Galway ladies football manager Tim Rabbitt has described as "disgraceful" the treatment which his side received ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final against Cork.

Cork won the match by 10 points.

The game was scheduled to be played at Parnell Park with a 1:30pm throw-in. However, due to an icy pitch, on Sunday morning it was switched to Croke Park and the throw-in time brought forward to 1pm.

The Galway team was in Kinnegad having a team meeting when they were informed that Parnell Park was unavailable. Rabbitt said the possibility of not playing the game was discussed, but they agreed to the switch with the proviso that they would be given adequate time to prepare once they arrived at Croke Park.

"We got to Croke Park around 12:30 - 12:40," Rabbitt told RTÉ's Morning Ireland show.

"We didn't agree to a 1pm [throw-in time]. We agreed that we'd get there as early as we could. We were given assurances that we'd be given sufficient time. Whether the game threw in at 1pm or 1:10pm we weren't concerned once we were given assurances that we could do a proper warm up and were properly prepared. That all changed when we got to Croke Park.

"We were allowed our 14 minutes in the dressing room, which is all you're allowed with the Covid situation. The minute we hit the pitch LGFA officials, referees straight away were in our ears saying, 'You've got six minutes to warm up'. I approached the LGFA officials and the referee. I think they accommodated us by an extra minute.

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"That's my only regret about yesterday. Cork deserved their victory. I don't want it to sound like sour grapes. That's the time we should have taken a stand and should have just walked off the field. We shouldn't have continued on until we had a sufficient warm up in place.

"The disrespect that [the players] were shown once they hit Croke Park was unacceptable. This shouldn't be happening. When we talk about 20x20 and we talk about equality in the game, these sorts of incidents shouldn't be happening. The LGFA have to make srue that this doesn't happen again.

"The LGFA has done some super work over the last few years. This just wasn't good enough yesterday. It was a joke. I regret that I didn't take a strong stance on it yesterday. It's just not acceptable. More respect should be shown to the players and our county.

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"It's the same way the venue was fixed for Dublin for some reason. Bringing Cork and Galway to Dublin is ridiculous. How it couldn't have been fixed for Thurles or Ennis, I still haven't found the real reasons why that hasn't happened."

Rabbitt also told Galway Bay FM that he thought "The way we were treated by the officials from the LGFA and the referee and officials is just disgraceful".

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LGFA president Marie Hickey told Morning Ireland that Galway "had the opportunity to get out onto the pitch earlier".

"I can understand the controversy around the game," said Hickey.

"It was a very difficult situation that we found ourselves in yesterday. The bottom line was: Do we cancel the game completely or try to refix it for another venue? Obviously the timeframe was very short to make that decision.

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"When the two managers were contacted around 11pm, they were both happy to play in Croke Park. It transpired from there. As far as we were concerned, we had got great cooperation from the GAA to get our fixture put in Croke Park, which is a venue that every player wants to play in.

"Galway arrived to Croke Park at 12:30. They then proceeded to the dressing room. They spent quite a bit of time in the dressing room and then emerged out onto the pitch. They would have had the opportunity to get out onto the pitch earlier had they not spent so much time in the dressing room."

Asked if the lack of time which Galway had to warm up was their own fault, Hickey replied:

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"I didn't say that. I said they could have been out on the pitch earlier. Obviously, the time scheduling was tight.

"There's no winners or losers in this, unfortunately. Our priority was player welfare, to get the game played. We actually thought we were doing something brilliant by getting the game into Croke Park."

Hickey explained that the throw-in time was brought forward as there had to be a winner on the day. Adequate time was required for possible extra-time and a shootout ahead of the men's semi-final between Mayo and Tipperary which was also being played at Croke Park with a 3:30pm start.

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Questioned if the time of the men's game could have been pushed back, Hickey said: "That was a difficulty in itself. There are huge difficulties associated with changing the scheduling of a live game. That would have been a huge problem for them."

She added that the LGFA did not enquire about the possibility of the throw-in time for the Mayo vs Tipperary game being changed. "We were so delighted to be getting in there in the first place, we went with it," she said.

See Also: Cork Keeper Anthony Nash Retires From Inter-County Hurling

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