Waterpark RFC has regained its status as a senior club – 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 brief statement released by the IRFU on Wednesday morning 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 on Wednesday night and will undoubtedly appeal the decision, with members adamant that “a genuine mistake” had been made.
One Monivea member went further, telling rugby journalist Hugh Farrelly that Waterpark’s claims were “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 teamsheet 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”.
Expect to hear more on this end-of-rugby season twist very soon.