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Quinn hits out at Ulster Council in annual address

By John Campbell

Antrim secretary Frankie Quinn went on the warpath at last night's annual convention held at the Dunsilly Hotel.

In a robust overview of events this year which he felt impacted adversely the straight-talking Quinn:

* called for the abolition of the rule which means that Ulster sides outside the six counties do not have to play in the Ulster Minor Football Championship in June;

* criticised the Ulster Council's Competitions Control Committee for its "shambolic" handling of the provincial hurling final arrangements;

* urged that a club fixtures programme which is "compliant, regular and achievable" be formulated within the county;

* and suggested that the post of county coaching officer become a full-time paid role "because of the enormity of the work-load involved."

Antrim's exit from the Ulster Minor Football Championship this year came at the hands of Monaghan in Newry, thus denying them home advantage at Casement Park as part of a double-header championship bill also involving the senior teams from both counties.

"Surely it is time for this biased, archaic rule to be removed. Players in the six counties have to do exams as well as they get no consideration," stormed Quinn.

And in recalling his county's approach to the Ulster hurling final which has now be deferred until the New Year, Quinn outlined the steps which had been taken in an effort to facilitate the playing of the game against Down.

"Having offered to play the game on July 13 or 20, we received no reply. By rule we are required to submit our county championship programme to the provincial council early in the year and there are penalties for counties who deviate from their schedule," stated Quinn.

"The next we heard was the Ulster final was fixed for early November in a time period in which rule prevents county players from training or playing games. At all times Antrim were committed to playing this game but I must say that it has been handled in a shambolic fashion."

And he added pointedly: "I will stress that Antrim are committed to participating in the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship despite those within the media and indeed within Ulster who would attempt to suggest otherwise."

In highlighting the plight faced by dual clubs – those who play both football and hurling – Quinn called for greater awareness of the difficulties in coping with their fixtures programmes.

"We need to put in place a fixtures programme that is compliant, regular and achievable. Our main aim is to provide games at club level – let's not lose sight of that fact," insisted Quinn.

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