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Replay date for Tyrone semi will not be changed

By John Campbell

Published 23/06/2016

Let’s do it again: David Givney of Cavan and Tyrone’s Ronan McNamee could face each other once more on July 3
Let’s do it again: David Givney of Cavan and Tyrone’s Ronan McNamee could face each other once more on July 3

The Ulster Council has responded sharply to suggestions that the date for the staging of the senior football Championship semi-final replay between Tyrone and Cavan could yet be amended.

The match has been fixed for Sunday, July 3 but a volume of opinion would suggest the game should take place this weekend.

The council has now made it clear that, contrary to the belief held in some quarters, championship match dates are in fact cast in stone.

"There's no question about that," said Ulster Council spokesman Michael Geoghegan.

"The dates for all our championship games were set last November, replay arrangements were also facilitated then and all nine counties were informed. There is no way that we would go changing dates on a whim."

Geoghegan also confirms that it had originally been planned to play next Saturday's semi-final between Monaghan and Donegal on Sunday but the match was brought forward by 24 hours at the request of Sky Television.

"Again, this request was made months ago when everything was at the planning stage and obviously we were happy enough then to host a Saturday semi-final," he said.

"The match will obviously receive huge television exposure but we know too that there will be a big crowd in Cavan for what is seen as a battle between two of the Ulster heavyweights," added Geoghegan.

"We are aware that there has been discussion on social media and indeed in other outlets about a possible change of date for the Tyrone v Cavan contest but everything sits as it is and it's all systems go for Sunday week."

Everywhere that is except Donegal, perhaps now that their hopes of overcoming Monaghan have been dealt a blow following the two-match ban imposed on key defender Neil McGee.

Indeed, the loss of McGee could have a serious impact on Rory Gallagher's team's ambitions of becoming Ulster champions again as he will also be forced to sit out the final on July 17 should his team make it that far.

McGee was shown a red card by referee Maurice Deegan after he had struck Fermanagh forward Ruairi Corrigan with his forearm in the quarter-final tie between the sides earlier this month.

McGee was furious following Deegan's sanction and sought to confront him but was restrained.

This was a repeat offence and the Central Competitions Control Committee consequently imposed the maximum penalty.

McGee's ban means that Gallagher will now have to revamp his defence for the trip to Breffni Park where his side will face a Monaghan outfit determined to retain the Anglo-Celt Cup.

Gallagher has already responded robustly to Fermanagh manager Peter McGrath's claims that his team employed "gamesmanship" in the second-half of the match at Ballybofey and maintains that two of his players, Frank McGlynn and Martin McElhinney, incurred injuries in the game which have precluded them from training since then.

"I do not agree with Peter's comments. With the quick turnaround between games we did not refer too much to the Fermanagh game," added Gallagher.

Meanwhile, Laois have now adopted a more conciliatory attitude to the Central Competitions Control Committee's decision that their All-Ireland football qualifier against Armagh must be replayed on Saturday week.

Midland county officials were angry when it was revealed that their team had used seven substitutes in last Saturday's 1-10 to 0-10 win over Armagh but their breach of the Official Guide means that they must now fulfil their re-match obligation.

Laois, who lost to Dublin in the Leinster Championship, had already their sights focused on their next round qualifier against Clare when they were reined in by the CCCC.

Chairman Gerry Kavanagh said: "We're disappointed but it's of our own making. We were the cause of the infraction and must take our medicine, move on and put this sorry mess behind us."

Armagh have confirmed that they did not actually seek a replay of the match but are nonetheless relieved that they will get an unexpected second bite at the championship cherry.

Belfast Telegraph

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