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Woods stands strong on tough approach

THE chairman of the CCCC, Seamus Woods, has defended the recent shift in policy regarding punishment meted out for participation in melees and accused some county officers of "playing to the gallery".

Monaghan and Cork have both had home advantage withdrawn for one league game after seeking a hearing to overturn fines incurred for their parts in melees with Armagh and Kildare respectively.

But Woods says rather than a new 'zero tolerance' approach, it is merely a continuation of what is happening at club level.

"Teams not being allowed to play at home - that is a common feature in the club domain of individual counties where clubs are taken to task," Woods explained. "There's nothing unique in what the Central Hearings Committee has done. That penalty has been used by individual counties the length and breadth of this island.

"I've seen in individual cases how the officers are holding forth and yet the same men have thrown the rulebook at people in their own counties. Yet when something happens to some illustrious member of the county team, up they go to Croke Park and the local news desks about it. It's inconsistency. What they're doing is playing to the local gallery."

JOHN HESLIN is set to be thrown straight back into senior inter-county warfare in Sunday's Allianz FL Division 2 clash with Galway. The Westmeath midfielder ended his brief spell with the Richmond Tigers in February but has impressed in his comebacks both for the county U21 team (in challenge games) and with his club, St Loman's. Heslin kicked 1-5 from full-forward last night as Westmeath's U21s defeated Roscommon 1-15 to 0-7 in a challenge.

Westmeath currently lie rock bottom of Division 2 after defeats in both their matches to Louth and Meath.

MONAGHAN sharpshooter, Tommy Freeman, could be another high-profile footballer to make a comeback this weekend after an 11 month absence from the inter-county scene.

The Magheracloone forward hasn't played for the Farney men since last April after he decided to move to New York. "Tommy is back with us, which is great," explained manager, Eamon McEneaney. "He's not carrying any injuries so we'll just have to see how he is in training and look at who we have and who we are missing before making a call."