Thursday 25 May 2017

Cargin and Crossmaglen clash over biting allegation

Michael McCann in action against Aaron Kernan of Crossmaglen Rangers
Michael McCann in action against Aaron Kernan of Crossmaglen Rangers

Martin Breheny and Orla Bannon

The Ulster Council is awaiting the referee's report before deciding on how to deal with allegations that former Antrim footballer Michael McCann was bitten during an Ulster club championship quarter-final in the Armagh Athletic Grounds on Sunday.

Antrim champions Cargin claimed in the immediate aftermath of the defeat to Crossmaglen Rangers that McCann had been bitten during an incident early in the second half. Cargin manager John Brennan said while he didn't see the alleged incident, McCann had a mark on his neck.

Midfielder McCann insisted last night that he was giving an accurate account while the claims were strongly refuted by Crossmaglen.

"It (biting) did happen. I was shocked by it because it has never happened me in my career before, but I knew immediately what it was. I reported it straight away to the referee and it's in his hands now. Congratulations to Crossmaglen on their victory - that's really all I want to say about it," said McCann.

Crossmaglen insisted that none of their players had been involved in a biting incident and promised that they would fully cooperate with any investigation the Ulster Council might set up. Oisin McConville, Crossmaglen joint manager, said they were concerned by the allegations.

"We have asked our players was anybody involved in a biting incident and they have said categorically 'no'. That is good enough for us. We take the allegation seriously, but we have conducted our own investigation and are satisfied with it," he said.

Ulster Council PRO John Connolly said they were awaiting the match report from referee Joe McQuillan (Cavan).

"That's the standard procedure in all disciplinary matters and will apply here too. We can make no further comment until we study the referee's report," said Connolly.

Even if McQuillan is unable to provide the Council with information about the alleged incident, they could still initiate an investigation. However, it's difficult to see how any progress could be made, since both sides have completely different views.

The Ulster Council video all their games but it's thought unlikely that any evidence - either to support or negate the biting claim - will be available from the footage.

Meanwhile, mediation is ongoing in the Galway hurling managerial dispute, which arose after player unrest over the decision to re-appoint Anthony Cunningham for a fifth successive year. Last night's board meeting heard that a mediator was working on various issues and it was hoped to have an update by next week.

The squad was unhappy at some aspects of Cunningham's regime following the All-Ireland final loss to Kilkenny but did not go as far as the Mayo footballers whose open revolt led to Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes stepping down.

However, it's still unclear if Cunningham will be at the helm in Galway next year.

Irish Independent

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