GAA

Westmeath Manager Critical Of 'Ridiculous' Rule Which Hurts Smaller Counties

Westmeath Manager Critical Of 'Ridiculous' Rule Which Hurts Smaller Counties

Westmeath took a hammering at the hands of Laois in their Leinster Championship quarter-final on Saturday evening.

The two sides will both reside in Division Three of the National League next season but looked worlds apart at O'Connor Park. Laois won the game by ten points, scoring four goals in the process - Paul Kingston accounted for a hat-trick of those.

Speaking to the RTÉ Sport after the game, Westmeath manager Colin Kelly was highly critical of a rule which means young player Finbar Coyne will not be able to play for his county's under-20s on Monday against Wexford.

Coyne came off the bench late in the first half after John Connellan was shown a black card. A new rule introduced by the GAA means that if a player represents his county at senior level, he cannot play under-20 football.

"When are the GAA going to realise that the smaller counties aren’t resourced to sustain this type of situation?" asked Kelly.

Westmeath's starting line-up had already been shorn of two of its best players. Start player and captain John Heslin could only make an appearance off the bench due to injury while vice-captain James Dolan has decided to spend his summer in the US.

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"The rules are set up to allow fellahs to travel, go to America whenever they want, come back and play for their clubs, under-20s can’t come into a senior set-up because then they’re out of the loop for the under-20s team – it’s just ridiculous," added Kelly.

You’re trying to run all this along with the fact that you’re losing player, after player, after player through injuries, work commitments or fellahs having enough of playing inter-county football.

Unfortunately we are another county who has suffered through that loss of experience.

Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

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