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Furious Kildare prepare to launch strong Barry defence

KILDARE are preparing to launch a vigorous defence of midfielder Alan Barry after it emerged that he could miss Saturday evening's All-Ireland qualifier against Roscommon in Portlaoise.

Barry was sent off early in last Sunday's Leinster football final when he picked up two yellow cards in the space of a minute.

Normally a sending off for a second yellow card offence doesn't carry a suspension but because it was a repeat offence - Barry was sent off in similar circumstances in a league match against Sligo earlier this year - he faces a two-week ban.

Kildare County Board officials were due to meet last night to specify how they will shape their defence as the fall-out from Sunday's final intensified.

They are furious in particular with the second yellow card brandished by referee Seamus McCormack after a collision with Tom Kelly.

"Whatever about the first one Alan received we maintain that the second booking was never a booking," said Kildare chairman Andrew O'Sullivan. "I've watched the incident for a second time on video and I feel even stronger about it now.

"We have to explore what avenues to take on this and be specific about what we want. But we will be looking for that red card to be rescinded," he confirmed.

Kildare face an uphill battle if they are to convince the GAC that the second yellow was warranted and late last night no date for a review had been pencilled in. They will require very strong video evidence to support their claim if Barry is to have a chance of playing against Roscommon.

Ironically, the linesman who drew McCormack's attention to Mick Wright's second yellow card for a collision with Michael Lawlor has been appointed to referee that game.

Michael Collins' appointment raised eyebrows in Kildare yesterday but O'Sullivan refused to be drawn into any controversy.

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"He's a very good referee. It's not something I would like to get into. Perhaps there are people in the county surprised that he has been appointed so soon after last Sunday but we have to get on with it," the chairman said.

Ironically, McCormack was not the original selection to officiate at last Sunday's game but Roscommon's Gerry Kinneavy was withdrawn in slightly mysterious circumstances earlier in the week, promoting the Meath man to his highest profile game yet.

Contrary to reports which were circulating yesterday, Laois will seek a personal hearing for Kevin Fitzpatrick after his straight red card on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick is facing a four-week ban for dangerous play which will rule him out of the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

But Laois are determined to offer a strong defence of their player.

Kildare's Anthony Rainbow is a major doubt for the Lilywhites despite doing some light training.

Meanwhile, an investigation is underway in Meath over claims that County Board officers were verbally abused and chairman Fintan Ginnity was manhandled before their All-Ireland JFC win over Kerry in McDonagh Park, Nenagh on Saturday.

An ongoing row between the County Board and the junior team management has widened over the decision to retain the services of Drogheda United goalkeeper Gary Rogers in the squad.

Rogers has been a regular with the juniors over the last few years but has not been able to play with his club St Ultan's this year because he is contracted to Drogheda.

Rogers figured in the Leinster semi-final win over Laois and was a substitute during the Leinster final win over Wexford.

But the presence of the player in the squad has raised objections from the County Board because he has not been playing with the club.

Since the Leinster final in Wexford, Rogers has made an appearance for his club in a league game last week but he was denied a jersey by the County Board before last weekend's final.

Rogers took part in the kickaround before and during the semi-final but couldn't play because he wasn't part of the official list given to the referee.

The decision to refuse him a jersey drew an angry response in the dressing-room in Nenagh beforehand amid reports that County Board officers were told to get out.

The matter of verbal abuse and manhandling of the chairman was raised at a meeting on Monday night with unanimous support for the Board officers and the decision to refer the Nenagh incidents to a special investigations committee.

OFFALY (MHC v Cork) - L Bevans; D Hoctor, P Cleary, C O Mara; N Rogers, D Hayden, H Ryan; J Keane, K Saddler; G O Grady, J Bergin, C Parlon; E Lee, D Cordial, D Molloy.

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