AN OVERWHELMING majority of Mayo clubs voted in favour of throwing reigning All-Ireland ladies senior club champions Carnacon out of the Mayo championship at a county board meeting last night.

It relates to Carnacon’s decision to withdraw all eight of their players, including vice-captain Fiona McHale and all-time leading scorer Cora Staunton, from Peter Leahy’s squad 10 days before they played Cavan in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifier group stage.

The42 understands delegates at the meeting voted 26-2 in favour of removing Carnacon from the championship, with one club abstaining from the vote. The motion was proposed from the floor by club delegates at last night’s meeting.

The decision was made under rule 288 of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association which relates to bringing the game into disrepute.

The rule states that “any member of the Association found guilty of conduct calculated to bring the Association into disrepute shall be liable to expulsion or suspension by the committee, board or council concerned.”

It means that Carnacon will be unable to defend their Mayo, Connacht and All-Ireland crowns unless the decision is overturned. The club have five days to lodge an appeal with the Connacht Council, and have called a meeting for this evening to begin preparing their case.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for the LGFA told The42 that the issue was currently a matter for the Mayo LGFA county board.

The controversy stems from a fall-out between Carnacon players and Mayo management during the early part of the summer. The club subsequently withdrew all eight of their players from the Mayo panel, citing ‘player welfare’ as the reason.

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Leahy retained the backing of a majority of the squad and they went on to defeat Cavan by 3-23 to 4-13 after a week of intense scrutiny brought about by the exile of the Carnacon contingent.

Michael McHale from Carnacon, father of Fiona, also withdrew from the backroom team but he was acting as kit man rather than selector as was reported by some media outlets at the time.

Team captain Sarah Tierney and three players from other clubs left the squad at a later stage for personal reasons unrelated to the Carnacon contingent. All four players who later departed still had clubmates on the panel.

Mediation talks were held between all parties to find a resolution but they failed to reach an agreement. All present signed a confidentiality agreement afterwards to keep a lid on discussions.

– Reporting by Kevin O’Brien, Gavan Casey and Fintan O’Toole

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