Friday 26 May 2017

Davy Fitz hit with eight-week ban - returns three hours AFTER possible Leinster semi-final v Kilkenny

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald and Tipp's Jason Forde tangle in Nowlan Park on Sunday Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald and Tipp's Jason Forde tangle in Nowlan Park on Sunday Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald has been handed an eight-week suspension, arising from his incursion on to the pitch during last Sunday’s Allianz League semi-final clash with Tipperary in Nowlan Park.

It rules him out until midnight, June 11, three hours after the Leinster semi-final, where his side are likely to face Kilkenny. Wexford play a ‘round robin’ qualifier (v Laois, Westmeath, Meath or Kerry) on the last weekend in May and if, as expected, they win there, it will set up a glamour clash with Kilkenny in Innovate Wexford Park on the evening of Saturday, June 10.

A bigger issue arises over how exactly the suspension is applied. The rules define a suspension under this heading as debarment "from all functions, privileges and competitions under the Association’s control but not from membership of the Association".

That could be interpreted as a ban on allowing a team manager to prepare the squad although that has not been strictly applied in the past.

Even if Fitzgerald is allowed to train the team, it will still be a major disruption to have him missing from the sideline on match days, especially if Wexford qualify for a clash with Kilkenny, who they beat in the League quarter-final earlier this month.

Fitzgerald has been handed the ban for dashing on to the pitch after Tipperary scored their second goal in the first half last Sunday. It led to clash with Tipperary midfielder, Jason Forde.

Fitzgerald later explained that he did it to "lift my lads a small bit", and said he "wouldn’t do it again".

However, his promise made no impression on the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee, who have proposed the eight-week ban.

He can now decide whether to accept it or take his case to the Central Hearings Committee.

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