Galway Ladies Football star Sinead Burke says the LGFA’s defence of Sunday’s venue fiasco was ‘a punch in the guts’

GALWAY football star Sinead Burke has described the LGFA’s defence of the controversy surrounding the All-Ireland semi-final as a “a punch in the guts”.

A row has erupted over the treatment of Galway players prior to their All-Ireland ladies football semi-final defeat to Cork in Croke Park on Sunday.

Sinead Burke

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Sinead Burke

It  comes after the fixture was relocated twice in the space of a week with the final switch happening two hours prior to throw-in.

The match was initially due to take place at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick before being moved to ­Parnell Park in Dublin last week, only to be changed to Croke Park at short notice on Sunday as the pitch at the Donnycarney venue was ­frozen.

The start time was also brought forward, from 1.30pm to 1pm, as GAA HQ was hosting the All-Ireland men’s semi-final between Tipperary and Mayo later that day.

The last-minute change of venue also meant the crucial game could not be broadcast live by TG4  because of the logistics involved from a TV production point of view.

Marie Hickey

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Marie Hickey

The Galway team only arrived at Croke Park 30 minutes before throw-in and were only given 14 minutes to get changed and seven ­minutes to warm up.

Ladies Gaelic Football Association president Marie Hickey has suggested the team could have spent more time warming-up had they spent less time in the ­dressing room.

But Galway manager Joe Rabbitte said the treatment of his players was “disgraceful” and blasted the events as a “joke” and “totally ­unacceptable”.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland he said: “We agreed we would play it, that we would get there as early as we could, once we were given assurances we were given sufficient time. That all changed when we got to Croke Park.

“We were allowed  14 minutes in the dressing room, which is all you are allowed with the Covid situation at the moment.

“But the minute we took the pitch, LGFA officials, referee, straight away in our ear – ‘Six minutes, you’ve got six minutes to warm up.”

Rabbitte added  his side should have refused to play, saying: “We should have just walked off the field. We shouldn’t have continued on until we had a sufficient warm-up in place.

“The disrespect shown once we hit Croke Park was completely unacceptable.”

Cork booked a place in the All-Ireland final against Dublin, after overcoming the Tribeswomen 2-17 to 0-13.

Defending how events played out, the LGFA president Hickey said: “They spent quite a bit of time in the dressing room and then emerged out onto the pitch.

“They would have had the opportunity to get out onto the pitch earlier had they not spent so much time in the dressing room.”

Galway wing-back Burke said it was “very disappointing and disheartening” to hear such a suggestion.

Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne, she added: “I have so much time for the LGFA but to hear that being said, it is a punch in the guts.”

@IrishSunOnline

Cork, Ireland – The Sun