“Monivea go Senior” declares the County Galway rugby club’s website homepage at the time of writing.
Well, it looks like the champagne has gone decidedly flat out west following the IRFU’s decision to reinstate Waterpark to senior ranks just weeks after their relegation from Division Three of the All-Ireland League.
This followed an IRFU hearing which ruled that Monivea, who defeated Waterpark by 32 points in their April 19th play-off “were guilty of playing an illegal player and of impersonating another player on their team sheet”.
The statement released by the IRFU on Wednesday last said this decision had been reached “arising from the game and on foot of objections by Waterpark RFC”.
It concluded: “As a result of this finding, the Hearing Committee decided to award the match to Waterpark RFC, who retain their status in AIB League Division Three for the 2008/09 season subject to any appeals lodged in relation to the ruling.”
The Galway club held its AGM last Wednesday night and will undoubtedly appeal the decision, with members adamant that “a genuine mistake” had been made.
In reaction to last week’s decision, one Monivea club member described Waterpark’s claims to an national newspaper as “a load of rubbish”. In advance of their play-off match, Waterpark had videoed Monivea’s meeting with Kildare, the winners of which would go on to face the Ballinakill side.
Waterpark’s Maurice Keller said that while Monivea’s team sheet was identical for their meetings with both Kildare and Park, “we noticed three or four different players in their side” for the play-off. He described Monivea’s conduct as a “stunt” which ran “totally against the spirit of the game”.
As of Monday evening, the IRFU had yet to receive an appeal from Monivea in relation to last week’s decision.