Sunday 17 December 2017

Hurlers get injunction against suspension over assault claim

Tim Healy

THREE Galway hurlers have got an injunction preventing their suspension by the county board over an alleged assault on a referee.

Conor Dervan, David Glennon and John Rafferty, all of Mullagh, Galway, got a temporary High Court injunction preventing the County GAA Board from entering into a disciplinary process to suspend them.

Mr Dervan is a member of the Galway senior hurling panel and Mr Glennon is on the county's minor panel.

In November 2009, the three, all from the Mullagh club, received 12-week suspensions following a game in last year's Galway senior club championship. Those suspensions were served, but earlier this month they received notification that the county board intended to recommence the disciplinary process.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy granted the injunction on an ex-parte -- or one side only -- basis and made the matter returnable to later this week. The players argue that they have been denied fair procedures.

The court heard the suspensions arose out of a semi-final in Athenry between Loughrea and Mullagh on October 18 when Mullagh lost by one point. Following the game, it was alleged that the referee, Christy Helebert, was assaulted by the Mullagh players, which under the rules of the GAA attracts a suspension of 48 weeks for anyone found guilty.

Concerns

The three players were suspended for 12 weeks. The suspension ended in mid-January. The players assumed the matter was at an end, as they had not appealed the decisions.

However, Johnathon Kilfeather, counsel for the trio, said the GAA's Centre Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) directed the matter be re-heard. He said the CCCC had raised concerns about how disciplinary matters had been handled by the Galway Co Board's Hearing Committee.

Counsel said it appeared that the CCCC wanted the Galway board to enforce a penalty of 48 weeks. It is their case that the CCCC's actions are an unlawful interference with the original disciplinary hearing.

The players' solicitors attempted to get the GAA's Dispute Resolution Authority to get involved, but it informed them it had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter. Counsel said the players did not wish to come to the High Court, but were left with no choice.

Irish Independent

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