Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

McSparran taking to the courts for Antrim

The GAA in Antrim is set to mount a legal challenge to the controversial new hurling championship format.

Ironically they will proceed through the courts after taking advice from former GAA President Sean Kelly.

It was Kelly who questioned the legitimacy of the recent Special Congress to make a decision that will see Antrim play Galway each year in the All Ireland hurling championship.

You have to admire Antrim chairman Dr John McSparran for having the courage of his convictions to press ahead with the legal challenge.

A lesser individual would have talked the talked without ever walking the walk, but the North Antrim doctor feels there's far too much at stake.

Antrim has to stand up and fight and if that means going to the High Court so be it.

Under the new arrangement passed at the Special Congress Antrim would play Galway every year with the losers then playing one of the first round losers in Munster, hardly the ideal scenario.

"I have no hesitation in exploring all options in an attempt to overturn the decision taken by Special Congress in an attempt to create a more level playing field for both ourselves and Galway." said McSparran.

The management committee of the Antrim Board are now set to discuss the matter and McSparran said: "It's important we act in the best interests of our county hurling team.

"Whatever action that may be open to open to us we'll study it very closely in a bid to reverse the ludicrous decision taken at Special Congress.

"There are a number of hurling people in the south saying this decision was hard on Antrim.

"Yet they all voted for it. That's Pontious Pilate stuff."

The threat of a legal challenge is the last thing the GAA want to hear, especially given the fact that it's something they have been desperately trying to eradicate.

It's the last thing the sport wants, but at least they know now that Antrim and especially chairman John McSparran are deadly serious.

Genuine hurling people in Antrim believe they are now being isolated by the same people, who have patronised them for far too long.

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