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Armagh’s Tiernan Kelly accepts six-month suspension following alleged eye gouge as County Boards are fined €10k


The incident involving Tiernan Kelly and Damien Comer. Photo by Inpho/James Crombie

The incident involving Tiernan Kelly and Damien Comer. Photo by Inpho/James Crombie

The incident involving Tiernan Kelly and Damien Comer. Photo by Inpho/James Crombie

Armagh's Tiernan Kelly has accepted a six-month suspension from the GAA after his alleged eye-gouge on Galway's Damien Comer in Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final

The GAA's Central Competition Controls Committee concluded its investigation yesterday evening into the melee and proposed sanctions for four players involved.

Two more of Kelly's Armagh colleagues, substitute Blaine Hughes and Conor Turbitt, are understood to have been identified by the committee and charged. A Galway squad member, Cathal Sweeney is also facing a proposed suspension. All three have been charged with behaving dangerously towards an opponent which carries a one-match ban.

Armagh has said in a statement that the players have accepted their penalties. "Following the investigation carried out by the CCCC, Armagh GAA can confirm the players and county board have accepted the proposed penalties. There will be no further comment."

Both county boards have been hit with €10,000 fines and Armagh have indicated in their statement that they will accept this too.

Kelly will not be able to play for his club for the remainder of the year though he is currently out injured and wasn't part of the official squad on Sunday.

He will however not miss any Armagh game and will be available for their pre-season games in January 2023.

The proposed suspension is time-based, not match-based, but there is no mechanism in GAA rule to defer a time-based suspension so that it covers inter-county activity only.

The Clann Eireann man, in addition to the other three players, had the option of seeking a hearing to challenge the ban.

Galway and Armagh have also been notified of proposed one-match bans for Sean Kelly and Aidan Nugent, the respective captain and joint captain who were sent off for contributing to the melee. Greg McCabe has also been notified of a proposed one match ban, doubled to two because he has already been suspended for a similar category offence earlier this year, for his red card, a high challenge that was deemed dangerous play.

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While the onus is on the counties and the players themselves to provide evidence that they didn't do as reported, it appears that they have a strong chance of having their proposed suspensions overturned.

Galway are challenging Kelly's suspension and he could have his hearing as early as tonight.

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