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Antrim hammered by Offaly, but DRA ruling saves their bacon

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25 July 2009
The Liam McCathy Cup relegation chaos descended into farce when Antrim and Offaly, and Clare and Wexford played their respective semi-finals despite a DRA ruling that there should be no relegation from the McCarthy Cup this season.
As it turned out Offaly hammered Antrim 1-28 to 0-13 at Parnell Park as the Saffronís seasonís goes from bad to worse.
It is believed that the DRA directed in the early hours of Saturday that there should be no relegation from this season's Liam McCarthy Cup.
The BBC sport website reported -
This followed appeals from the counties involved in Saturday's play-offs.
The DRA is believed to have ruled that Ring Cup winners Carlow be promoted into a 13-team Liam McCarthy Cup.
Next year's Congress will now be asked to ratify the DRA's late night ruling which came after the counties successfully argued against relegation taking place this year on technical grounds.
The GAA subsequently released a brief statement on Saturday morning saying that the play-offs would go ahead but with no further detail.
However, the Antrim and Offaly countyboards became aware of the DRA verdict on Saturday morning and more than one official described the game going ahead as a "farce".
With the Saffrons still apparently scheduled to play another relegation game against either Clare or Wexford next weekend, the Antrim board expects the two matches to cost the county around £7,000.
The Saffrons, Offaly, Clare and Wexford submitted an appeal calling for Saturday's two matches to be halted because of the relegation controversy.
The Saffrons believed that they were promised three seasons in the Leinster Championship at last year's Special Congress.
All four counties attended the DRA meeting in Dundalk and the gathering didn't break up until 0230 BST on Saturday morning.
Events off the field totally overshadowed the match.
Kevin Brady struck in a first-minute goal for Offaly and while Antrim fought back to level, the Faithful men took complete control to lead 1-15 to 0-8 at the interval.
Brady's goal came after his long ball slipped out of Ryan McGarry's grasp and into the net.
The Saffrons had tweaked their side before the throw-in, bringing in Sean Delargy for Eddie McCloskey at wing back and Paddy Magill for CJ McGourty at top of the left.
Stewart and Paddy Richmond helped Antrim level but Offaly quickly took complete control.
They rattled off points from Dylan Hayden, Franks, Brendan Murphy, goalscorer Brady, Brian Carroll and Shane Dooley for a 1-9 to 0-4 lead.
Antrim were awarded a penalty early in the second half but Karl Stewart's shot was blocked on the line.
The Saffrons put up little resistance during the remainder of the second half as Offaly knocked over a succession of score.
Brian Carroll finished with a 12-point tally while Antrim's woe was completed by Shane McNaughton's late sending off.
Antrim started without Neil McManus and Neil McAuley who were both missing because of pre-booked holidays.
Both players booked holidays for this week some time ago as the original fixture schedule had the Saffrons with a weekend off.
Shane McNaughton and Karl Stewart were ruled out of Antrim's last game clash against Laois for similar reasons.
Meanwhile, Galway hammered Antrim 4-23 to 0-10 in the All-Ireland Hurling quarter-final, which was the curtain-raiser at Parnell Park.
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Antrim: R McGarry, K McGourty, N McGarry, A Graffin; C Herron, J Campbell, E McCloskey; M Herron, K McKeegan; D McKillop, K Stewart, J Scullion; S McNaughton, P Richmond, CJ McGourty.