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Solution in sight to Galway hurling row as St Thomas' volunteer to play Gort next weekend

Gort refused to play St Thomas today because of disruption caused by Covid cases within their panel.

A view of the Galway senior hurling trophy (file photo).
A view of the Galway senior hurling trophy (file photo).
Image: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Updated Nov 14th 2021, 4:43 PM

THE GALWAY SHC fixtures crux looks set to end with reigning champions St Thomas’ volunteering to play Gort in the second semi-final next weekend and prevent weeks of boardroom wrangling to see who goes through to play Clarinbridge in the decider.

Confirmation of the gesture by St Thomas’, who are chasing their fourth title in a row, is expected soon and it’s also anticipated that Galway GAA authorities will allow Gort back into the competition after they refused to turn up for the re-fixed semi-final on Sunday.

Gort wanted a fortnight break after one of their players tested positive for Covid-19 last Friday week and several of their players had to isolate and go for Covid tests.

But they looked set to be thrown out of the competition and face hefty fines after informing Galway GAA that they would be unable to fulfil the fixture because of the disruption to their preparations and that three squad members were still awaiting results of tests.

Their withdrawal would see St Thomas’ go straight through to the final but Gort indicated that they would strenuously battle this with appeals to the Connacht Council and Croke Park likely to delay the final for many weeks, possibly until after Christmas.

However, intense behind the scenes discussions over the weekend look set to yield a solution with St Thomas’ volunteering to take on Gort next weekend in the semi-finals, with the final likely to take place the following weekend.

Galway hurling sources indicated that St Thomas’ were anxious that the fixture against their neighbours and arch rivals Gort go ahead rather than be decided in the boardroom and that match now looks likely to be set for next weekend and prevent weeks of wrangling.

Earlier…

GALWAY HURLING CLUB Gort have called on the county board to reschedule their county senior hurling semi-final, after they were forced to withdraw from today’s fixture due to the Covid situation in their squad.

Gort have revealed that they have ‘a positive Covid-19 case with an underlying heart issue’ within their panel and three other players ‘showing Covid-19 symptoms awaiting test results.’

Their semi-final against reigning champions St Thomas was due to take place last weekend but was postponed due to the Covid situation and after being rescheduled for today at Kenny Park in Athenry, it emerged yesterday that Gort would not be fulfilling the fixture.

In response, a statement was issued by Galway GAA that they would review the situation and ‘failure to fulfil the fixture will be dealt with by Galway GAA CCC in the coming days’.

Last night Gort GAA club issued a statement outlining their situation and the reasoning behind their withdrawal from today’s game, citing ‘a duty of care’ to people involved.

They also pleaded with the county board to reschedule the game and ‘allow the competition to be completed when it is safe to do so’.

Clarinbridge have already qualified for the final, which is due to take place next Sunday 21 November, but that fixture is now under serious doubt.

The statement in full reads:

“The lifeblood of the GAA is its club hurlers and footballers. Supported by their management and club volunteers, these people make incalculable sacrifices for the love of our game and community. They give it their all in a spirit of unity, loyalty in accordance with the GAA ethos; “Give respect, get respect”.

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“We are acutely aware of the financial, emotional and other investments made in our team by our club officers, generous sponsors and wider community who have supported us relentlessly.

“As a group of players and management, above all else, we have a duty of care to our neighbours and families. We also have a duty of care to St. Thomas’ Hurling club and match officials.

“We do not wish to compromise the privilege of representing our club and community in a county semi final. These are indeed the days we have all dreamed of and worked so hard for. However, we cannot, under ultimatum or otherwise, compromise on our aforementioned duty of care.

“At present we have a positive covid-19 case with an underlying heart issue within our panel and 3 players showing COVID-19 symptoms awaiting test results.
“We respectfully ask that the county board reschedule the game and allow the competition to be completed when it is safe to do so. Regrettably, for reasons outlined, our players and management cannot fulfill this fixture.

“Le meas,

“Gort Senior Hurling Team.”

– Additional reporting by Fintan O’Toole

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