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Mayo board alerted Croke Park chiefs to All-Ireland final breach

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The GAA were understood to be satisfied with Mayo's explanation for how they gained access to Croke Park - in the team's kit van - and how the county board took the lead in sanctions

The GAA were understood to be satisfied with Mayo's explanation for how they gained access to Croke Park - in the team's kit van - and how the county board took the lead in sanctions

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The GAA were understood to be satisfied with Mayo's explanation for how they gained access to Croke Park - in the team's kit van - and how the county board took the lead in sanctions

The GAA were unaware that three unaccredited members of the Mayo backroom team gained entry to last month's All-Ireland final until alerted by the Mayo county board themselves.

On Friday, the county board's executive took the decision to suspend three members of their senior football management team, who they have declined to name, for three months apiece.

Official sources subsequently confirmed that as far as the GAA were concerned, the matter is now closed and Mayo will face no further sanction from Croke Park.

However, the Belfast Telegraph has since learned that the Mayo board instigated the process themselves after a story was reported in a local newspaper.

It is understood that Croke Park's operations team had no knowledge of the unauthorised presence of the three, who were passengers in the team's kit van, and that the first anyone in the GAA learned about the matter was via the Mayo board themselves.

Croke Park then launched an investigation as a result of Mayo's information. Precisely when the board were made aware of the issue remains unclear.

In an article dated January 1 on their website, the Connacht Telegraph published a story claiming that two members of the Mayo management group who had not been part of the 12 backroom personnel registered to attend had been at the game.

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The piece, which appeared on the paper's front page, features a quote from Mayo county board chairman Liam Moffatt, stating: "To my knowledge, everyone who gained entry to Croke Park for the All-Ireland final on December 19 were checked by security at the gate of the stadium."

However, an internal investigation led to the board making prompt contact with the GAA at the highest level, effectively owning up to the breach of protocol.

The GAA were understood to be satisfied with Mayo's explanation for how they gained access to Croke Park - in the team's kit van - and how the county board took the lead in sanctions.

A number of questions were sent to the Mayo county board, including asking whether the unauthorised personnel were in the team dressing room before the game and whether the board were aware of the issue prior to the Connacht Telegraph report.

In a statement released on Saturday morning, the board claimed the "three individuals attended the game without the knowledge of the county board's officers and the team manager".

By way of response, a board official said they "cannot comment on matters of public speculation", adding that "following the review process all those suspended admitted responsibility and apologised sincerely for their mistake".

Mayo did, however, clarify that the suspensions start at "the beginning of the official inter-county season" and "as with all GAA suspensions this precludes those individuals suspended from all GAA activity during their suspension period".


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