GAA Football

Tyrone lodge objection to brawl-hit U20 FC defeat to Armagh

Players rush to join in a pitch brawl towards the end of the Armagh v Tyrone Under 20 match on Friday.
By staff reporters

TYRONE have lodged an objection to the result of their brawl-hit Ulster U20 Football Championship defeat by Armagh, The Irish News understands.

Both sides were reduced to 13 players towards the end of the first phase of extra-time by four red cards shown by match referee Niall McKenna after the violent scenes, but the teams were then restored to 15 per side for the second phase of extra-time – and this forms the basis of the Red Hands’ complaint.

The GAA’s regulations issued by Central Council this year state that “Phase 2 of Extra Time shall be considered an extension of the initial ‘Extra Time’ provision rather than as a new period of Extra Time (e.g. a team reduced to 14 players because of a sending off during the playing of the first phase of Extra Time must start Phase II with only 14 players etc)”.

Armagh were trailing at the time of the brawl but went on to win by 2-22 to 0-24 after another 10 minutes of extra-time.

The Ulster Council’s viewpoint is expected to be that neither side benefitted from this error but Tyrone are technically correct that a breach of the regulations took place.

The objection is due to be heard tomorrow evening. An Ulster U20 final media launch planned for today has been postponed.

It has been confirmed that county board officials from the counties involved in the mass brawl will not be involved in the disciplinary process to decide what sanctions, if any, should be imposed.

Ulster finalists Derry will have no input either, meaning that officials from Antrim, Down, Monaghan, Cavan, Donegal and Fermanagh will make the calls.

As many as 60 players and mentors were involved in the prolonged melee that marred what had been a quality game of football between the emerging talents from the Orchard county and the Red Hands.

But a match that had ebbed and flowed descended into chaos near half-time in extra-time and four players – two from each side – were sent off by match referee Niall McKenna

“It’ll be the end of the week before the CCC will get anything done,” said Ulster PRO Michael Geoghegan.

“The competing counties won’t be involved in the disciplinary process, nor will Derry because they are in the final. It’ll be the other six so it’s all fair and above board.

“The referee’s report will be submitted and they’ll work from there and their decisions will go out to the PROs of the two counties involved.”

The inaugural U20 final, between Armagh and Derry, is due to be played as a curtain-raiser to the Ulster SFC final between Donegal and Fermanagh in Clones on Sunday, June 24.

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