Sunday 22 April 2018

'Absolute insanity' - Clare boss fuming after player given three-month ban for 'squirting water-bottle at official'

Jamie Malone remains unavailable for next week’s re-fixed clash with Roscommon. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jamie Malone remains unavailable for next week’s re-fixed clash with Roscommon. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney and Declan Bogue

Clare football boss Colm Collins has hit out at the three-month suspension handed out to Gordon Kelly for allegedly squirting a water-bottle at an official.

And Collins also confirmed that Jamie Malone remains unavailable for next week's re-fixed clash with Roscommon after an appeal of his two-match ban was rejected.

Both players were suspended for incidents during the draw with Tipperary at Cusack Park, while Collins himself is also serving a month's suspension for comments he made to a linesman during the lively Division 2 football clash.

Kelly will be out of action until the championship after he picked up a retrospective ban for allegedly hitting an umpire with water, which he denies doing.

"There was a ridiculous decision at the end of the match when Gordon Kelly was cleaning water out of a water bottle and one of the umpires alleged that he hit him with the water. Gordon got three months for that, which is absolute insanity," said Collins.

"All he did was clean out the water bottle before he drank it, like every player in the country does. The umpire says he hit him, which Gordon denies, and he got three months for it.

"By all means protect the officials, but let there be something to protect them from if you are going to suspend a player for that long.

"Even if he deliberately squirted water at an official - which he adamantly claims he didn't - three months is a bit much."

Malone was sent off in the same game following an incident with Tipp selector Shane Stapleton. Stapleton fell and hit his head during the clash on the sideline, which resulted in Malone's red card, but after sitting out last week's win over Down in Newry, efforts to reduce the ban have failed. According to Collins, Malone's ban should have been chalked out, but he looks forward to welcoming him back.

"We appealed it and got nowhere. Then Congress immediately passed it to make it only a one-game ban. That didn't apply to Jamie obviously, so he has a two-game ban."

Meanwhile, Slaughtneil's over-worked heroes will not be asked back onto the Derry football panel any time over the next couple of weeks, and may get until the end of the league before resuming their county careers, reveals Oak Leaf manager Damian McErlain.

The Newbridge man insists he is taking the move of letting vice-captain Brendan Rogers and his five club mates have an extended break after their pursuit of All-Ireland club titles.

"I think we can't rush them back. We want them coming back and being an addition to us. If you are forcing men who are just after a long season like that - and two years in a row of that…

"Mentally and physically, there is going to be a toll on them," McErlain said.

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