The curious goal that may see Castlerahan/Denn into Ulster final

Ulster Council to decide matter tonight after Steelstown fail to fulfil fixture.

"Don't miss!" roared one spectator seconds before a Castlerahan/Denn player smashed the ball into the Steelstown net, seemingly securing a place in this weekend's Intermediate Ulster Championship Final.

Cheers erupted from the sparsely populated stands of Kingspan Breffni 3G last night as the contest was decided in the most unusual fashion.

Or was it decided? After all the referee had thrown in the ball. Castlerahan/Denn did everything expected of them, but their opponents, Brian Ógs of Steelstown, were nowhere to be seen.

The surreal scenes unfolded as a dispute over the pitch surface saw Steelstown refuse to travel the 90 miles to fulfil the midweek fixture.

Initially the semi-final had been fixed for Mullagh, but the Cú Chulainn's pitch was deemed unplayable.

Brian Óg's chairperson Paul O'Hea said on Twitter that they were only informed of the change of surface after the bus had already left Derry for Cavan.

The Derry club claims that Steelstown players had expected to play on a grass surface and the players had packed traditional boots with steel studs. When it emerged that the game was fixed for the 3G pitch, designed for all weather, Brian Óg's Ladies GAC were unwilling to risk their players being injured. The club also claim players with steel studs wouldn't have been permitted to play by the referee.

Fixture congestion

Fixture congestion means Steelstown only won their quarter-final win over Ballyshannon three days before. The team had earlier expressed concern over cramming matches in midweek. Had they fulfilled the fixture with Castlerahan/Denn and won, they would then have had to play Fermanagh champions Derrygonnelly this coming weekend. This scenario would have seen them play three Ulster championship matches in eight days.

A letter penned by the team doctor and shared online by the club stressed impact on players' recovery and possible injury risk.

The Derry champions had seemingly requested the LGFA to refix the match, but the association decided to press ahead with the fixture last night.


Some measure of clarity should be brought to the matter at a meeting of the Ulster Council tonight (Thursday, November 3).

The provincial executive is due to meet at 8pm, and the full council at 9pm

If the council members determine the Ulster final can go ahead Sunday, two things could happen- the match goes ahead as planned; or Brian Ógs club could lodge an appeal.

Alternatively the Ulster Council could decide that the semi-final is refixed for this weekend, and push the Ulster final back to a later date.