Pure class from St Mullins to stand up for rival club in the interests of fairness
The clubs of Carlow stand together. Rivals inside the four white lines. Outside, the mutual respect is clear.
For the hurlers of Ballinakill, this last week has been a galling one.
The previous Sunday was meant to be a day in their lives. A first senior hurling semi-final in a number of years, the whole village was behind them.
The excitement was building. The banners and flags were out. Their hurlers were on the cusp of it.
But, suddenly, that was all taken away from them. Some unfortunate yet thoroughly unfair fixture planning meant that the team were hamstrung heading into the biggest game of their season.
For five of their players, it would have been a nigh on impossible ask. That's because the five of them had played in an intermediate football semi-final for Kildavin just 18 hours before the semi-final was fixed.
Disrespectful and indeed unfair.
So Ballinakill took a stand. Having requested a postponement all week, they stuck by their guns even when the powers that be let them down. They didn't field for the semi-final. Sent out a considered statement the morning of the fixture and had every Gael in the country on side.
"We take this decision in the interests of player welfare and for the greater good of Carlow hurling and appeal to the better judgement of the County Board," it read.
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF BALLINKILLEN GAA
Sunday, 29 September
This is a statement on behalf of Ballinkillen GAA to clarify the reasons for the postponement of the SHC Semi-final.https://t.co/zhrCTThwDg
— Ballinkillen GAA (@BallinkillenHC) September 29, 2019
Cue a rollercoaster week.
With the game initially awarded to St Mullin's, the Carlow CCC reviewed their decision upon request from Ballinakillen come Monday.
And so on it went to Leinster council. They upheld the decision which left Ballinakillen in a bad place. But that's when St Mullin's, their original semi-final opponents stepped in with a request to re-make the fixture which would overturn all the bad decisions that had gone before.
"Following the Leinster Council Hearings Committee's ruling to uphold Carlow GAA's CCC decision to award the SHC semi-final to Naomh Moling, Carlow GAA has now acceded to Naomh Moling's request to re-make the fixture," read a statement from the Carlow county board.
Serious kudos to the @NaomhMoling (St Mullins) club in Carlow.
When Ballinakill couldn't field last weekend due to hurling/football clash - St Mullins were put through to SHC final by the board.
Semi fixture now to be remade after a request from St Mullins.
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) October 7, 2019
St Mullin's weren't going to take advantage of their fellow club's misfortune. They want to win, but to do so fair and square too.
Serious kudos to them.