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Down left high and dry by London

By John Campbell

The Ulster Council has reacted angrily to London’s decision not to fulfil their Ulster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final against Down which was scheduled for Sunday at Casement Park, Belfast.

London officials and players believe that their team might make more headway in the Nicky Rackard Cup in which they will face Armagh at Crossmaglen tomorrow (1.00pm) and their withdrawal from the provincial ‘semi’ has not only undermined the premier Ulster competition but has incensed opponents Down.

In a strongly-worded statement the Council reiterates that the Ulster Council Hurling Championship fixtures were made last October and that the fixtures for the Nicky Rackard Cup were drawn up subsequent to this and in the knowledge of the Ulster itinerary.

Down manager Gerard Monan had been hopeful that a satisfactory resolution might be found but has now expressed disappointment at London’s stance.

“My players had been looking forward to Sunday’s semi-final. We have been preparing for the game throughout this week and we would have relished the fixture irrespective of how we might have performed.

“It is disappointing that we may now go straight into an Ulster final meeting with Antrim — we would rather have earned that right,” said Monan.

Meanwhile, as London prepare to engage an Armagh side that had a handsome win over Fingal last Saturday, Tyrone are hoping to gain a crumb of comfort in the Nicky Rackard Cup when it’s their turn to face Fingal in Swords. The Red Hands slumped against Louth last week when several decisions went against them.

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