Casey hit by long ban as Offaly lose league point
YOUNG Offaly footballer Ken Casey was hit with a whopping six-month ban yesterday for playing while suspended.
And Offaly have been docked a vital National League point for fielding the 19-year-old in their drawn match against Longford.
Casey, Offaly's 'Young Footballer of the Year' for the past two seasons, played in the league match despite the fact that he was serving a four-week suspension for verbal abuse of a referee during a recent Leinster U21 championship match.
The decision to field the St Brigid's player was taken on the advice of county secretary Christy Todd - an error that has cost them an invaluable league point.
The Offaly County Board last night indicated that they will appeal Casey's 24-week ban, but they are not expected to contest the decision to award Longford the two league points.
"Our priority is to get Ken Casey back playing football as quickly as possible," said a spokesman.
Contrary to rumours, Todd, a long-serving administrator, has not stepped down following his mis-interpretation of the rules governing the cross-over of suspensions at U21 and senior inter-county level.
Todd attended the hearing at Croke Park yesterday, along with county vice-chairman Pat Teehan and Casey, while Longford, who had raised the eligibility question, had two officials present.
Offaly said they did not mean to gain any advantage and pleaded for leniency, but it was decided that Casey was ineligible and Offaly must forfeit the league point.
No decision was reached on the thorny issue of points difference and it is expected that this will now be referred to the Central Council.
Longford argued that Offaly's scores from the game should be removed from the points deferential.
Meanwhile, Tyrone captain Brian Dooher - who broke his kneecap last summer - will end a nine-month injury nightmare when he lines out against Division 1A leaders Donegal tomorrow. Ryan McMenamin returns but Owen Mulligan is banned.
Roscommon midfielder Seamus O'Neill is out for at least a month after suffering a hamstring injury. David Casey moves from wing-back to replace him for Sunday's Division 2A clash with Carlow, with John Nolan coming into the half-back line.
Westmeath, unbeaten in Division 1B, welcome back Martin Flanagan from holidays to replace David Duffy and John Keane replaces Kieran Gavin.
Elsewhere, Derry football manager Paddy Crozier insists there is no question of Paddy Bradley following his father and brother and leaving the county panel.
Derry will be without their scoring star for Sunday's vital Division 1B clash with Armagh but that is because he has a hamstring problem.
But Crozier said: "We trained on Tuesday. Paddy was there, getting physio, and he'll be at training tonight, getting treatment from our physios again, so that puts the rumour to bed."
DERRY (SF v Armagh) - B Gillis; K McGuckin (capt), K McCloy; J Keenan, P Cartin, SM Lockhart, G O'Kane; F Doherty, J Conway; R Murray, C Gilligan, M Lynch, R Wilkinson, E Muldoon, Paul Bradley
TYRONE (SF v Donegal) - P McConnell; R McMenamin, C McGinley, M McGee; D Harte, C Gormley, D Carlin; P Donnelly, K Hughes; B Dooher, E McGinley, D Treanor; M Penrose, S O'Neill, C McCullagh.
WESTMEATH (SF v Louth) - G Connaughton; F Boyle, M Ennis, J Keane; A Rigney, D O'Donoghue, D Heavin; D Healy, M Flanaghan; F Wilson, D Dolan, J Smyth; A Mangan, P Bannon, D Glennon.
LOUTH - S Reynolds; D Brennan, C Goss, A Page; J O'Brien, P McGinnity, R Finnegan; P Keenan, M Fanning; C Grimes, M Brennan, M Stanfield; A Hoey, S Lennon, D Clarke
FERMANAGH (SF v Mayo) - N Tinney; N Bogue, B Owens, S Goan; S McDermott, S Lyons, P Sherry; M McGrath, J Sherry; M Little, S Doherty, E Maguire; C McElroy, M Murphy, C O'Reilly.
ROSCOMMON (SF v Carlow) - G Claffey; S Purcell, M Killalea, S McDermott; S Daly, J Nolan (Western Gaels), J Nolan (Roscommon Gaels); D Casey, M Finneran; G Cox, K Mannion, J Tiernan; D Connellan, G Heneghan, C Cregg.
CAVAN (SF v Sligo) - C Anderson; M Cahill, A Ford, K Fannin; R Flanagan, E O'Reilly, P Brady; D McCabe, N Walsh; R Cullivan, M McKeever, M Cunningham; G Pearson, Rory Gallagher, J O'Reilly.
WEXFORD (SF v Antrim) - J Cooper; C Morris, P Wallace, B Malone; G Sunderland, D Murphy, A Morrissey; R Stafford, T Howlin; C Deely (capt), P Colfer, R Barry; C Lyng, PJ Banville, M Forde.
TIPPERARY (SF v Meath) - P Fitzgerald; M O'Brien, A Foley, A Morrissey; P Halley, P King, C Maher; K Mulryan, E Hanrahan; S Moloney, H Coghlan, G Hannigan; P Austin, D Browne, B Mulvihill.
LOUTH (U21 FC v Laois) - B Nash; C Owens, P Osborne, R Brennan; P Rath, K White, D Englishby; S Brazzil, M Fanning; A Reid, H McGinn, A McGuinness; J Murray, D Crilly, T O'Brien.