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Devlin's reduced ban for Twitter comment sets precedent

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Michael Conlon, Ballinderry

Michael Conlon, Ballinderry

SPORTSFILE

Michael Conlon, Ballinderry

A Derry star who initially got a 48-week ban for derogatory comments he made about referees on Twitter has had it reduced to just eight weeks.

Oak Leaf wing-forward Aaron Devlin was one of three Ballinderry players given one-year bans after a serious bust-up at the end of this year's Derry SFC final, which his team lost in controversial circumstances when Slaughtneil snatched a late goal.

Unlike his team-mates, his suspension was unprecedented as it was the first time a player got a major ban for comments made on social media.

The Derry Hearing Committee subsequently halved his ban to 24 weeks, and Ulster Council's Hearing Committee has now reduced it to the minimum under the 'disrepute' rule, which clearly sets a precedent for how offensive social media comments will be treated in future.

The reduction means Devlin will be able to play for his college UUJ in the Sigerson Cup; he is also available again for the county.

Ballinderry goalkeeper Mickey Conlan (pictured) successfully used video evidence to clear himself of a charge of assaulting a match official, but accepted a one-match ban from Ulster's Hearing Committee for verbal abuse.

But county defender Gareth McKindless was unsuccessful in his appeal against the same charge and his 48-week suspension still stands.

Derry initially banned Ballinderry from hosting senior games this year but later replaced it with a £5,000 fine and Ulster have reportedly reduced it.

Irish Independent