There wasn't too much Christmas goodwill at Dunganny GAA Centre on Saturday where Ratoath defeated Navan O'Mahonys by nine points in a u-17 FL final.
Bad-tempered would be a reasonable description of the atmosphere at the game where a pleyer from each side was red-carded in the final quarter after a brawl broke out.
Players, mentors and supporters became involved on the pitch which was only cordoned off by a rope.
Referee Jimmy Burke, after receiving advice from Meath Referees' Co-ordinator Jimmy Henry who was present, moved the game to the more secure all-weather pitch which is surrounded by an eight-foot high wire fence at the Meath GAA centre of excellence in an effort to get the final finished.
Ratoath eventually won the game convincingly, by 1-17 to 2-5 after they had enjoyed a lead of 1-11 to 0-0 at half-time.
A player from each team was red-carded and as matters deteriorated the unusual step of moving to a 'behind closed doors' option was considered the best way to defuse the situation, although the referee could also have abandoned the tie.
"It was terrible what went on, I don't want to say too much about it at this stage as it is likely to be investigated anyway," stated a Ratoath official.
However, the view from a Navan O'Mahonys official was slightly different. "There wasn't too much in it, it was over fairly quickly," commented the O'Mahonys official.
Meath Minor secretary Bea O'Reilly, who presented the cup to Ratoath captain Cian O'Brien, declined to make any comment about the matter to the Meath Chronicle.
However, at Sunday's annual GAA convention, Co Committee chairman Barney Allen, who was re-elected unopposed, had plenty of say about the matter. "What was witnessed at Dunganny in the u-17 FL final on Saturday was appalling and besmirched the good name of our game," he commented.
"The behaviour of a number of officials and supporters did no credit to the game, let me place on record at this convention that those responsible for bringing our games into disrepute can expect to face the full rigours of our disciplinary procedures," he added.
The Meath CCC will deal with any disciplinary matters arising out of the referee's report when it is received.
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