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Galway’s Seán Kelly in the clear as Armagh’s Tiernan Kelly accepts six-month ban

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Referee David Coldrick shows a red card to Aidan Nugent of Armagh and Seán Kelly of Galway, right, before the start of extra time in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Referee David Coldrick shows a red card to Aidan Nugent of Armagh and Seán Kelly of Galway, right, before the start of extra time in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Referee David Coldrick shows a red card to Aidan Nugent of Armagh and Seán Kelly of Galway, right, before the start of extra time in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Galway captain Seán Kelly has been cleared to play against Derry in next week’s All-Ireland semi-final after having his red card overturned at a hearing last night.

Kelly went before the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) and was able to make the case that he did not contribute to the melee as dealt with on the day and reported by referee David Coldrick.

Kelly missed extra-time after both he and Armagh joint-captain Aidan Nugent were dismissed when the teams came back out on to the field.

The expectation had been that Kelly would be cleared as no available TV footage appeared to suggest he had contributed to the melee in a way that would merit a red card and subsequent suspension.

Meanwhile, Armagh’s Tiernan Kelly has accepted a six-month suspension from the GAA after his alleged eye-gouge on Galway’s Damien Comer in Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final.

Two more of Kelly’s Armagh colleagues, Blaine Hughes and Conor Turbitt, have also accepted one-match bans for their involvement after being charged with behaviour considered dangerous to an opponent. A Galway squad member, Cathal Sweeney, is also facing a proposed suspension for a similar offence. 

Armagh confirmed acceptance of all penalties, including a €10,000 fine which Galway have also received.

“Following the investigation carried out by the CCCC, Armagh GAA can confirm the players and county board have accepted the proposed penalties. There will be no further comment.”

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However, Nugent and Greg McCabe, who is facing a two-match ban, one match doubled because it is a repeat Category Three offence after his sending-off in a league match against Tyrone earlier in the year, were not part of that investigation and may yet opt to seek a hearing.

Kelly will not be able to play for his club for the remainder of the year though he is currently out injured and wasn’t on part of the official Armagh squad on Sunday.

He will, however, not miss any Armagh game and will be available for their pre-season games in January 2023, a consequence of the GAA’s scheduling.

The proposed suspension is time-based, not match-based but there is no mechanism in GAA rule to defer a time-based suspension so that it covers inter-county activity only.

The Clann Éireann man, in addition to the other three players, had the option of seeking a hearing to challenge the ban.


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