Four counties fined €20,000 for unsightly scuffles
Croke Park gets tough on big-game bust-ups as Cavan appeal falls flat
THE GAA have hit four counties where it hurts hardest – in their pockets – arising from fracas in two All-Ireland qualifiers which look set to net €20,000 for central coffers.
Wexford and Longford have both been given €5,000 fines for their mass row in Pearse Park, and Cavan and Fermanagh have got the same fines for the half-time dust-up during their second-round game on the same weekend.
Three of the counties involved are set to appeal but they will not be too optimistic of their chances after hearing that Cavan have tried but failed to have their fine commuted.
The Breffni took their case to the Central Hearings Committee last Thursday where they successfully appealed a proposed eight-week suspension for selector Anthony Forde, but there was no move on their fine.
Fermanagh confirmed yesterday that they have sought a hearing on their fine and that Sean Quigley, who received a red card at the time, is also appealing his suspension.
The melee at the end of the Longford/Wexford game, which went to extra-time, attracted a lot of media attention because the video showed one team mentor taking off his glasses before he intervened.
Managers Glenn Ryan and Aidan O'Brien apologised for the incident immediately after the game.
But the subsequent disciplinary investigation has seen Wexford centre-back David Murphy facing a proposed one-match ban, while an eight-week ban has been proposed for their team trainer Jason Moran.
Longford's Michael Quinn, who was a substitute on the day, is also facing a one-match ban and two of their back-room team – Dave Hare and James Murray – have been hit with eight-week bans.
The Irish Independent understands that, of the individual suspensions, only Murphy's and Quigley's are being contested but Wexford, Longford and Fermanagh are all intent on contesting the fines and will take their appeals to the Central Hearing Committee.
The bans will not affect players at club level but will apply to their next inter-county match which, in Fermanagh, Longford and Wexford's case will be the first round of the leagues next year.
Donegal have not ruled out the prospect of having Mark McHugh available for some part of Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final against Mayo.
McHugh has made a good recovery from the concussion and perforated ear drum he sustained against Monaghan in the Ulster final.
According to Donegal assistant manager Rory Gallagher, he is walking well again and his progress will be monitored before a "late call" is made on his involvement. It was originally thought that he would miss this weekend's action if Donegal were involved.
"We've come through the weekend well," said Gallagher, who is also confident that Karl Lacey will play a much greater role in this Sunday's repeat of the 2012 All-Ireland final.