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20th Jul 2023

Tyrone make U-turn and agree to postpone underage matches following stabbing incident

Lee Costello

Tyrone initially denied the request.

Local GAA club says that Tyrone county board has changed it’s mind and has agreed to postpone underage matches following a stabbing incident.

On July 6, both the referee and an umpire at the under-16 championship semi-final between Cookstown Fr Rocks and Fintona Pearses GFC sustained injuries, in a stabbing incident after the game.

Ulster GAA chief executive Brian McAvoy confirmed that the referee, who was a volunteer, had finished the match and was on his way off the pitch when he was approached by another person. The umpire was injured when he intervened and later treated at hospital for wounds to his leg,

The referee was treated at the scene for minor injuries. A 42-year-old man arrested afterwards was later released to allow for further enquiries.


Fr Rocks had initially released a statement, which has since been deleted, claiming that Tyrone GAA have since refused the club’s requests to postpone underage matches, thus resulting in the Cookstown outfit cancelling its upcoming underage finals.

“Our underage players have just recently resumed full training after the traumatic events of Thursday 6th July,” said the club.

“In the interim, we have done our utmost to provide the necessary support to all those who were impacted and affected.

“Consequently, the club made a formal request to Tyrone GAA on Thursday 13th, for a very short deferral of our u14, u16 and u18 fixtures to allow our players to come to terms with everything.

“We had offered and committed to play additional games at u14 and u18 levels on our return so that the Tyrone GAA underage fixtures programme would not be held up as a result of this request.

“Disappointingly, Tyrone GAA rejected our request on Monday 17th July and have continued to fix both under 16 finals for this Saturday 22nd July and fixed our u14 and u18 fixtures for the beginning of the week.

“We asked them to reconsider and again this was refused. Our members continue to receive counselling and support from healthcare professionals and the professional advice is that our players are not in a position to take part in the games this weekend and we have now communicated this to Tyrone GAA.

“We apologise to both Errigal Ciaran and Carrickmore who are our opponents in the u16 finals.

“We await a new date for these games from Tyrone GAA and remain confident that Tyrone GAA will continue to support the club and especially our young players.

“The club wishes to thank everyone for their ongoing help and support.”

Initially following the stabbing incident, Tyrone GAA said it was investigating the circumstances and taking it “most seriously”.

The county board has since changed it’s stance, and agreed to postpone these games.

“The club would like to publicly thank Tyrone GAA for their ongoing assistance and would acknowledge the continued support provided by them to our young players.

“We wish to apologise to our opponents, Errigal Ciaran and Carrickmore for the inconvenience caused and thank them for their understanding.

“We are looking forward to returning to competitive action as soon as possible and wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to all those who have helped us in any way.”

SportsJOE has contacted the county board for further comment.

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