Déise blow as Bennett hit with one-match ban
It has been a bad week for Derek McGrath, with further misery heaped upon the Waterford manager's shoulders as star forward Stephen Bennett was handed a one-game suspension arising from an incident during last Sunday's Munster SHC semi-final defeat to Cork.
The GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) proposed the suspension after the Déise attacker was involved in an altercation with Damien Cahalane and pulled off the Rebel defender's faceguard.
The offence was missed by referee Barry Kelly but disciplinary chiefs have decided to act, and Waterford officials have confirmed that they will not be contesting the charge.
This means that Bennett, a key member of their All-Ireland U-21 winning side last year, will miss the first-round qualifier next Saturday - their opponents will be determined by Monday's draw.
The Ballysaggart clubman was cited for a category III (iv) infraction, specifically 'behaving in any way which is dangerous to an opponent, including deliberately pulling on or taking hold of a faceguard or any part of an opponent's helmet'.
The minimum penalty is a one-match ban, leaving Bennett ineligible for his side's first qualifier. Waterford sources indicated that Bennett reacted to some provocation from Cahalane but have accepted the punishment and will not request a sitting with the Central Hearings Committee (CHC).
Elsewhere, former Louth starlet Ciaran Byrne will remain with AFL side Carlton Blues until at least 2019 after being handed a contract extension.