Tuesday 24 October 2017

Brolly gets 48-week ban rescinded

Matthew Fitzpatrick of Antrim in action against Alan Campbell of Tipperary
Matthew Fitzpatrick of Antrim in action against Alan Campbell of Tipperary

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Antrim forward Matthew Fitzpatrick's 48-week suspension for 'misleading an investigation' was thrown out by the Central Appeals Committee because of a loophole.

Antrim prepared an extensive appeal document, focusing on a technicality whereby a piece of evidence was not used fairly.

Fitzpatrick had twice been served with a one-game ban for the offence of striking with the hand, and had successfully appealed it twice.

On Monday night, he was charged with the graver offence of 'misleading an investigation' and handed a 48-week ban. But this was thrown out on Wednesday night.

The lengthy suspension had been imposed only after the Central Hearings Committee had shown Fitzpatrick a much longer video clip of the incident than previously seen, allowing him to identify himself beyond all doubt.

Because the full video clip was not made available to Fitzpatrick, it became tainted evidence.

Barrister Joe Brolly, who led the Antrim appeal, told Off the Ball: "In truth, the whole thing was embarrassing. This was an entirely trivial incident.

"Basically, this is players jostling under a ball in front of the ref and so when Matt was asked, 'Is that you?' He said, 'I genuinely don't know' and that was conflated with 'he's deliberately misled us'.

"I had to ring the boys and say 'look, I think you've sent me the wrong clip' because there's no strike. It looks like there's a small push at the top of the back."

Irish Independent

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