Curtis Ryan captained Moyne Gaels to Mid Tipperary U21B football success on Sunday, but a new ruling could impact on whether clubs across the county can field a team at the grade.
A controversial Central Council decision has forced Tipperary County Board secretary Tim Floyd to issue an edict to Premier County clubs precluding under-17 players from playing hurling and football at the under-21 grade. Following a meeting of Central Council on Saturday, February 23 a 16-year-old player, who will celebrate his birthday in 2019, cannot play for his club under-21 team; any player who wishes to represent their club at under-21 level must have celebrated his 17th birthday by January 1 of that year.
On Wednesday, February 27 County Board secretary Tim Floyd sent an email to all of the Tipperary clubs outlining the issue.
Following a meeting of the Central Council on Saturday, February 23 (a ruling which was confirmed by the Munster Council on February 27) the Tipperary County Board advised all clubs that from Wednesday, February 27 a player must be aged seventeen or over on January 1 2019 to play in this year's “remaining” under-21 football and hurling championships.
The statement reads: “Coiste Chontae Thiobraid Árann has exhausted all avenues to have this ruling deferred, but to no avail. So, unfortunately we are forced to follow the ruling”.
Please note that this interpretation of the ruling does not originate with the Tipperary County Board. The ruling originates with the Central Council.
Speaking to the Tipperary Star on Thursday, February 28 County Board secretary Tim Floyd described the issue as a “new interpretation” of an existing rule. Mr Floyd also outlined that the results of the games that have already taken place in the 2019 under-21 football championships will stand, but that the County Board has no option but to enforce the ruling from this juncture.
So, although the Mid Tipperary under-21A and under-21B football finals have already taken place any under-17 player who featured during that campaign for the victorious JK Bracken's and Moyne Gaels clubs, for example, will now not be eligible to play in the forthcoming county semi-finals.
To ignore or boycott the interpretation of the rule is not a practical option since any under-17 player competing at under-21 level would now not be insured and any result could be challenged under rule. As a result a player born in 2002 can now only play at the minor grade during the 2019 season because that player is already precluded by rule from playing at all adult levels.
This new interpretation of an existing rule has a significant implication for Tipperary clubs. On Thursday, February 28, for instance, the North Tipperary Under-21B Football Championship final between Ballina and Kilruane MacDonagh's is scheduled to take place at Puckane (8pm). However, it is understood that the ruling impacts on six of the Ballina panel and five of the Kilruane panel meaning that both clubs will struggled to field a team in the divisional decider this evening.
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