Saturday 22 July 2017

Sligo referees in strike threat after Breheny ban lifted

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

SLIGO GAA chiefs are facing the prospect of having their referees 'withdraw their services' from all adult competitions from this Friday after one of the county's top stars had his red card controversially rescinded last week.

St Mary's player Mark Breheny was sent off on a straight red card in a club championship match against Tourlestrane and had been given a proposed four-week suspension by the county's Competitions Control Committee on the back of the referee's report.

However, that ban was lifted by Sligo's Hearings Committee on appeal last week, clearing the way for Breheny to play in last Saturday's SFC quarter-final against Coolera/Strandhill.

The county's referees are furious at the decision to overturn the suspension. There was no video evidence to exonerate Breheny, and it isn't clear on what grounds the player was cleared.

Sligo's executive met for a hastily convened meeting on Friday night to seek clarification on the decision to rescind the red card and how it was made, though Breheny's eligibility to play that weekend remained unaffected.

On Sunday night, the county's referees met and decided unanimously to withdraw their services from this Friday should the county's top brass not take what has been termed as 'appropriate action'.

As St Mary's lost their quarter-final, reinstating the suspension would have little effect.

But the referees present at the meeting in Tubbercurry were adamant that they would follow through on their threat to withdraw their services, which applies to both hurling and football competitions, if the issue was not resolved to their satisfaction. It is not clear exactly that that would consist of.

However, hope was building late last night that the impasse could be resolved before Friday's deadline as members of the county's executive met with officials from the Hearings Committee.

Irish Independent

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