Saturday 16 December 2017

Monaghan to appeal loss of home league tie

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Monaghan are to appeal the decision by the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) to remove home advantage for their next league match due to their players' part in the controversial melee which marred their recent league game against Kildare in Clones.

The Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) proposed a €5,000 fine last week but Monaghan declined to accept it and sought a hearing instead.

CHC subsequently lifted the fine but imposed what could be considered an even stiffer penalty by forcing them out of home venue for their derby against Louth on March 11.

It is an indication of the gravity with which the relevant committees are now treating melees of this nature. Counties can keep 10pc of the gate receipts for home league matches, but there are other benefits to having a home game and the costs of losing advantage amount to more than a €5,000 fine.

Monaghan chairman Paul Curran confirmed that they would be appealing to the Central Appeals Committee.

"We can't appeal to this body just because we are disappointed with the outcome," he said. "We're appealing as we feel there was misapplication of some rules. There isn't much more we can say about it other than that."


Monaghan are known to be taken aback by the CHC outcome, which sent warning shots across the bows of other counties in similar positions.

Kildare are also keen to take a case to CHC but that didn't take place on Friday night because of the O'Byrne Cup final against DCU.

Armagh are already reconsidering their application for a hearing, which was made late last week, while Cork may also weigh up the situation with their next home match coming against Laois on March 10.

Following a fine of the same amount (€5,000) for the three other counties, the logical thinking is that the CHC would make them forfeit home advantage for their next games too.

That could possibly see Kildare travelling to Derry and Armagh heading for Mayo, journeys that would cost in excess of the €5,000 fine.

The players -- Michael Shields, Pearse O'Neill (both Cork), and Ciaran McKeever and Malachy Mackin (both Armagh) -- who face proposed sanctions are still expected to seek hearings later this week.

GAA president Christy Cooney supported the CHC stance on the Monaghan penalty when asked yesterday.

"Based on the evidence presented to them in their review of the case, they made a decision that they felt was appropriate," he said.

"We have to get rid of so-called melees or major situations when all the players are getting involved in major fracases during games.

"We're sending out the wrong message and the wrong signal and it's bad for the image of the association, so I think they've taken a course of action and I support fully the course of action that they've taken."

Cooney said there was no ambiguity between the work of the CCCC and the CHC in these cases.

"The only body that makes decisions are hearings. Hearings make the decision. What the CCCC do is say to the county or individuals, 'this is what your punishment is likely to be. Are you prepared to accept that and move on?'

"They don't have to do that. They have a right to go to hearings and have their case heard and then for hearings to make a decision on what they consider is the most appropriate punishment. That's what happens. Hearings make decisions, not the CCCC."

Meanwhile, Cooney has reiterated his view that the inter-provincial competitions have "had their day" after poor crowds attended last Sunday's semi finals.

"I'm not going to prejudge it, but I think it has seen its day because the fans aren't coming to it," he said. "I have expressed my view on this, I felt the competition was dead, that crowds weren't interested in coming to it and I still have to be convinced that it is going to be a remarkable success and that people are going to come back to it.

"I think the club championships have taken over from it. I was here at the club finals for intermediate and junior -- we had 6,000 at both games, tremendous occasions. I was at the Loughgiel game at Parnell Park -- another great occasion and great support. I think we'll have 30 or 40,000 for the club finals on St Patrick's Day, which will be another wonderful occasion."

Irish Independent

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