Carlow primed to fight trio's bans in effort to save season
Carlow have not taken the cumulative 44-week bans to football boss Turlough O'Brien, coach Steven Poacher and stalwart Brendan Murphy lying down and will appeal the suspensions in the coming days.
The hefty bans, handed down by the GAA's Central Hearings Committee (CHC) last week, arose following Carlow's agonising defeat to Down in their penultimate Division 3 tie last month.
The Barrowsiders lost by a solitary point in Netwatch Cullen Park on March 16 which ultimately condemned them to relegation when a draw would have retained their Division 3 status.
O'Brien was slapped with a 20-week ban after a Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) investigation laid charges against him for "threatening conduct" aimed at Cork referee James Bermingham.
Video footage shows Bermingham being confronted in the seconds following the final whistle when an injury-time free after the allotted period of stoppage-time clinched victory for Paddy Tally's side.
Poacher and inspirational midfielder Murphy also received 12-week suspensions - also for "threatening conduct" towards the referee - in what constitutes as a huge blow to Carlow's prospects this summer.
If these rules are enforced stringently, the suspended trio would not be permitted to take any part in training sessions or games for the duration of their bans, although this is rarely strictly enforced by GAA.
The logistics of being without their manager and coach, as well as one of their finest talents, would be a hammer blow ahead of opening their Leinster SFC campaign away to the winners of Meath/Offaly at the quarter-final stage on May 25.
Carlow chiefs fought back and lodged appeals to the Central Appeals Committee (CAC) over the weekend with their cases likely to be heard this week as they hope to get championship hopes back on track.
Should their appeal to the CAC fall on deaf ears, the final stop would be to appeal to the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), a body which operates independently of the GAA.
Meanwhile, the awards keep coming for Limerick hurling star Aaron Gillane after the Treaty attacker was one of three Mary Immaculate College players named in the Fitzgibbon Cup team of the year.
Fitzgibbon Cup champions UCC dominate the selection with eight players, however, as Kerry's Shane Conway was named Hurler of the Year, while another Kingdom star, Seán O'Shea, won Footballer of the Year and was one of six representatives of champions UCC.