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Danny Murphy lashes switch bid

By John Campbell

Ulster Council Director Danny Murphy pulls no punches about the suggestion from the Football Review Committee (FRC) that teams who lose matches in their own provincial championships should be subsequently accommodated in another province.

"While the FRC report has much in it to be considered, I think we are treating the symptoms and not addressing the overall issue in relation to provincial championships," states Murphy.

"That is, some of our counties are more competitive than others.

"There has been much said about the inequality of the current structure of our championships but getting defeated teams involved in another province is not addressing the need to develop the status of those counties to where they can compete on an equal basis."

And Murphy believes this merely represents the tip of the iceberg.

"There are many other matters that need to be examined and it needs to be stated that the status quo is the benchmark against which these proposals need to be addressed," he says.

"There is also the need to ensure that our media profile and TV coverage are not further reduced or constrained," insists Murphy.

And while he acknowledges that progress is being made on the major refurbishment of Casement Park, he does not conceal the fact that this is being achieved against a "challenging" backcloth.

"The chairman of the project Tomas O Dalaigh has given enormously of his time in trying to ensure that the timeline targets are met and that we can achieve the outcome envisaged," he reveals.

"He has worked diligently, courageously and with forthrightness in advancing the project through many difficult and extremely challenging issues to ensure we have a scheme that is on schedule and is also deliverable.

"The Council continues the progress of the stadium dealing with a litany of complex and frustrating issues on a daily basis."

Murphy also expresses his concerns in relation to criticism of referees and what he refers to as "negative comment on the quality of games and related matters."

In what is clearly a reference to the introduction of the black card, Murphy accepts that there could be problems along the way.

He says: "Fouling is the real problem and no colour of card is required for those playing by the rules."

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