UL CAMOGIE CAPTAIN Siobhán McGrath has spoken about the hurt of being knocked out of the Ashbourne Cup finals weekend after a scoring mix-up.

UL had been informed that they needed to win their final group stage game against Maynooth University, on 31 January, by 33 points to progress to the semi-final.

Having won by 34, they were issued with an official invitation by the governing body, the CCAO (Cumann Camógaíochta Ard Oideachais), to participate in the finals.

By 2 February, however, that outcome was being questioned due to the outcome of a match the previous November. It’s believed a discrepancy between the referee’s report and DCU’s tally of the scoreline from their group game against Maynooth caused a three-point differential.

It was ruled that DCU would advance and UL were out.

“It was just devastation. We woke up the following morning and we couldn’t believe it could end over a text message,” McGrath told Off The Ball.

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“We’re all involved in top-level sport and we understand there’s highs and there’s lows but you expect to be knocked out of a competition on the pitch.

“One morning, you’re looking forward to the weekend and you’re getting ready. Next morning, you wake up and you’re getting a text message saying actually no, you’re out.


“Everyone was just awful upset. The special thing with college camogie is you only get four years to play together. This is a lot of our last year in college.

“The fact that our college camogie career just ended one morning over text is just crazy. You can’t even believe it could get to this stage.”

UL manager Ruairí Walsh said the miscommunication affected how his players had approached the final 10 minutes of the Maynooth match, prioritising not conceding a goal over running up the scoreline any further.

He added that UL offered a playoff when the issue was first raised but that was declined.

“When you’ve to appeal, you have to appeal to a rule. But there was no rule quoted (by the CCAO) as to how DCU were going through. We were trying to stab in the dark,” said Walsh.

“First of all, we asked for clarification, did DCU actually officially appeal? We were told they didn’t, they queried and questioned.

“We were stabbing in the dark so we sent in an appeal based on the referee report and home college sending in the score but all we were told was it was rejected. We only got word on that at 11.30 on Thursday night.

“Friday morning, within 24 hours of the Ashbourne Cup, we made contact with the DRA and we were told that they just would not be able to get an initial hearing in between then and the semi-final.

“We were in a desperate situation then because going through official channels, we had nowhere to go to get the game postponed to figure out how we could go about getting a hearing for the girls.

“We made contact with the CCAO and they told us to send in another appeal and it’d be considered. So we sent in another appeal on Friday evening. Again, at 11.30, we got an email basically saying that appeal was not being looked at because we already had one rejected.”

The UL team attended the Ashbourne semi-final in their jerseys in protest at the decision.

“We were blown away with the support we got from everyone that heard about our situation,” said McGrath, who congratulated TUD on winning the trophy.

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“The most disappointing thing is we got up there and no one from the CCAO would engage with us. No one came up to us from the CCAO.

“Even though we got great support, they still stayed silent over the whole thing.”

Walsh says UL will continue to question this outcome.

“We spoke to the players and said this isn’t over from our point of view. We’re not going to stop until we get the answers the players seek.

“If it means this will never happen to another team again, it’s probably our aim from now on. Unfortunately for us, it seems that it’s the end of the road for the team and to happen in such circumstances is appalling.

“The saddest part of the whole thing was after the semi-final and the girls did a dignified protest but when that final whistle went and we were walking back to the bus, you could see heads dropping and they realised that the semi-final they thought they’d all be playing in was over.

“For me, that was the heart-breaking moment, that that was it, that was the final chance for them.”

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