Thursday 23 March 2017

Two-month suspension on cards for Heslin

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Rising Westmeath star John Heslin is facing at least a two-month ban after being sent off for a second time in five weeks while playing for the county.

Heslin, who has agreed terms with AFL side Gold Coast Suns for an international rookie contract, was given the red card during Westmeath's Leinster U-21 semi-final defeat to Longford in Navan on Wednesday night.

Referee Brian O'Shea's report was due with the Leinster Council yesterday and Westmeath will hope that he is reported for nothing more than striking.

Heslin was sent off while playing for the Westmeath seniors in the league and if he picks up a one-month ban it will be automatically doubled.

But if O'Shea reports him for a more serious offence the Leinster Council may opt to increase a prospective suspension.

Recruit

Heslin confirmed this week that he will be the latest young GAA recruit to the AFL after spending the last few weeks in Australia on trial.

He plans to link up with his new club in the autumn and will be able to continue his studies as an agricultural science student Down Under.

"I am obviously going to miss my friends and playing with the people I have grown up with, but I have to take the chance while it's there.

"These opportunities don't come along too often, and it's something I've always wanted to do," he said this week.

Meanwhile, the Leinster Council look set to continue to play their U-21 games at floodlit venues on midweek dates in the future.

The success of the move over the last few weeks has been praised by Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly.

"I think the feedback has been very positive," said Skelly. "It has avoided clashes with league games at the weekend and even club games for players involved. Everybody has enjoyed the experience. It will be reviewed by the fixtures group but I'd be confident we'll repeat it."

Irish Independent

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