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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Oisin Doherty

Ursula Jacob and Donal Óg Cusack slam 'appalling' handling of Ashbourne Cup controversy

GAA legends Ursula Jacobs and Donal Óg Cusack have both slammed the handling of UL's elimination from the Ashbourne Cup.

UL believed they had progressed to the semi-final of the competition when they beat Maynooth by 34 points in their final group game, having needed to win by 33 points to qualify.

Or so they thought, as it soon transpired, an earlier game in the competition between DCU and Maynooth had the wrong score registered. Therefore, UL hadn't done enough and were eliminated from the competition.

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The finals of the competition went ahead this weekend and TU Dublin lifted the cup after beating UCC in the final.

There was however the stunning image of the UL side on the touchline watching the semi-final that they had done what they thought was needed to qualify for the final four.

The situation has been mired in controversy all week. On Allianz League Sunday on RTE Two, Donal Óg and Jacobs discussed the situation.

Jacobs said: "Firstly, the Ashbourne Cup competition is a fantastic tournament. It should be one of the highlights of the camogie season but this weekend has been completely overshadowed by this controversy.

"I really feel for the players involved. It's just really appalling how it's all been dealt with.

"I'd have serious questions over how the whole process was handled (and) how we got to this stage because UL were preparing for an Ashbourne Cup semi-final three days ago and their details were included in the weekend's programme and then they have to go up to UCD and just watch UCC and DCU play out a semi-final.

"There's lots of questions. I'd really question the kind of communication that happened over the last couple of weeks (and) the transparency.

"I'd question in relation to the referee's report. What was submitted? Was it submitted within the timeframe last November? And what was included in that report?

"Because if that was the score back in November, I don't see how it could be changed three months later. That's not good enough and it's not good enough for the players.

"I know from winning Ashbourne Cups, being involved at management level, you train and prepare for this competition. It's an unbelievable competition and it just has been thrown into complete chaos and it overshadowed the weekend and I'd like to congratulate TUD on their win. But no one is even taking notice of that.

"Fair play to UL for travelling up yesterday and showing great signs of solidarity. But they shouldn't have had to do that yesterday. It's just completely not good enough."

While Donal Óg Cusack said: "It brings to question the bigger issue which is around the whole amalgamation of the Camogie, Ladies Football and the GAA," he said, adding that camogie and women's football players have been treated like "second class citizens" over the years.

"Surely it's the way to go for the associations. Sometimes I feel the GAA is over-administered. You'd wonder do the Camogie Association have the resources in place? That's why gaps like this (controversy) come.

"There's a lot of volunteers involved in this. Surely if you amalgamate it, there's lots of lessons to be learned, there's lots of leveraging of resources and so on, and it seems like such a logical idea that you'd wonder why is the (potential merger) taking so slowly.

"It was unanimous among the male population that their female colleagues would be brought into the Gaelic Players Association,

"I think they've set the example for the GAA to follow and I think there's way more to be gained by the overall association (with) everybody coming together rather than acting independently as we are now."


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