Sligo Borough Council has released a statement clarifying its position on Connacht being the venue for this year’s Under-20 Football Championship final.
ligo has objected to using the Connacht Center of Excellence in Bekan, Co. Mayo as the venue for next Wednesday’s final duel with Mayo, arguing that the final venues should be rotated between the competing counties.
Yeats County’s main argument is that the last time the two counties met in the Connacht U20 Finals in 2019, the game was played at MacHale Park in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
Sligo are now calling for the final to be played at Markievicz Park in Sligo next week.
The statement from Sligo Borough Council read: “Last Wednesday evening (13 April) we formally lodged our appeal with Connacht Council regarding the announcement of the Connacht Center of Excellence as the venue for the Connacht Under-20 Final for which we had qualified us minutes earlier.
“This communication was immediately dismissed. We have since attempted to convey to Connacht Council the depth of feelings in Sligo on the subject and to have play confirmed at Sligo as would be the norm as part of Connacht’s long-standing rotation for inter-county championship games including finals.
“We have tried to do this in a constructive way, without unnecessary conflict and without disrupting the preparation for this game by the U20 team and our senior teams involved in hurling and football championship action this weekend.
“As we had not achieved any movement on the matter by yesterday afternoon (Friday), we sent an email to the Connacht Council officially confirming what had been conveyed through various informal channels over the past 24 hours. This email has not been verified.
“We are now in a position where the players involved and management and our supporters are asking why we are not saying anything publicly.
“Accordingly, we are sharing the body of this email so there is no ambiguity as to where we stand.”
The email from Sligo County Boards to Connacht Council reads as follows:
“We have been reflecting on the email exchange last Wednesday evening in relation to the staging of next week’s U20 Championship Final and the subject has been discussed at length by the players, their management and the Sligo GAA Management Committee.
“Our U20’s achievement in qualifying for a Connacht final is based not just on 60 minutes of effort, but on six years together as a group which has brought immense joy to all who follow games across the county.
“For as long as any participant can remember, the hosting of league matches in Connacht, including the finals, has alternated between the districts involved, something we are sure to recognize from officials and fans in all other districts, including our opponent next week, Mayo. The last time Sligo played Mayo at U20 level in 2019, the game was played at Castlebar.
“Immediately after Wednesday’s semi-final match, it was announced through the media that next week’s final will be played at the Connacht Center of Excellence in Bekan. Sligo GAA is a big supporter of the Bekan project. It is an important and far-sighted piece of infrastructure that has already brought and will continue to bring enormous benefits to the development of Gaelic Games in the province in general and in each of the districts, including our own.
“Its purpose, however, is to support the development of the games and to complement what was there. It is not intended to replace the use of existing venues to host major matches, which are an integral part of the fabric of each season.
“It is clear that this decision was made to facilitate television. Whilst we greatly appreciate the value of media coverage of our games and in particular the particular contribution of TG4, there is no basis on which we can accept that the needs of a television network should override the ability for players and fans to host a provincial finals enjoy on their home pitch may be warranted.
“We have been told that this decision is being made because there are lights in Bekan and not in Markievicz Park. Are we now seriously planning one of the biggest games of the year in the province to fit a TV network’s scheduling requirements?
“We would respectfully suggest that TG4 change their schedule for the evening to accommodate the game at an earlier time. If they don’t, it says a lot more about their commitment to supporting the GAA than all the marketing and advertising we see.
“We were also told that we have to accept Bekan as a venue because that was mentioned in an email sent out after the Mayo Galway quarter-finals late evening on April 6th.
“It would have been utterly disingenuous of us to discuss the location of a Connacht final when we hadn’t even played the semi-finals, and to suggest that we should accept the location of the final as Bekan because in this email just stood ridiculous.
“If those charged with managing the GAA in Connacht insist on throwing in Bekan at 7.30am next Wednesday, that is an event in which Sligo GAA will not be involved. This was discussed at length by the players, their team management and the District Committee. We all agree.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/u-20-gaelic-football/sligo-county-board-reveal-email-sent-in-objection-to-venue-for-connacht-u20-football-final-41559674.html Sligo Borough Council unveil an email sent against the site of Connacht’s Under-20 football final