BY KIERAN McCARTHY
BEFORE a ball was kicked on the pitch this season Muintir Gabriels have already won their biggest match of the year.
The amalgamated ladies team – a combination of Muintir Bháire and Gabriel Rangers, who joined forces in 2018 – were stunned to learn in January that they were being regraded from junior D to intermediate for the upcoming season.
Muintir Gabriels was told that, under proposed LGFA rules, if two junior clubs amalgamated then they must compete at intermediate level.
‘It would have been a disaster,’ one club official admitted.
The reality is this West Cork team would not be competitive at intermediate, four levels above where they usually compete as they are a junior D outfit, but Muintir Gabriels fought their corner to highlight their plight. Mayor of Cork Danny Collins even raised this issue at a recent council meeting in County Hall, drawing attention to their dilemma. Muintir Gabriels banged the drum, urging the decision-makers to see sense because this regrading could have had a devastating effect on the amalgamated team – and their pleas were heard.
‘It is with great relief that Muintir Gabriel's ladies were informed that a motion has been passed at Central Council level to allow Muintir Gabriel's junior ladies to compete and remain in their present championship grade,’ the club announced.
The LGFA rule in question is 182 (f) of the official guide which allows county boards ‘to grade or re-grade players and teams at club level’ within their county. This rule also says that ‘the grading of clubs shall be subject to approval of Central Council.’