Tuesday 20 February 2018

New twist to McKeever tale


ARMAGH captain Ciarán McKeever was cleared to play in last night's Allianz League clash with Down after his case with the GAA's Central Hearings Committee was adjourned. And while McKeever made the most of his reprieve to inspire his side to victory, his case will be revisited this week.

"The alleged incident was seen by a sideline official and technically speaking we cannot directly act on a sideline official's word," said one official.

"We had to wait for evidence of this to come through the official referee's report and that took a few days. After that we had to arrange a meeting and come to a conclusion.

"We decided the matter merited further discussion as we will have to speak to the sideline official and various other parties. That's why the investigation has been deferred until next week -- we only ended our meeting after midnight on Friday and who were we going to ring at that hour? But there will be an investigation into the matter. In the meantime, the case has been adjourned pending that investigation and he was cleared to play against Down."

Speculation was rampant yesterday that the GAA had eased off on suspending McKeever in return for his county board's retraction on claims of racism and sectarianism during last weekend's clash with Laois.

"That is absolutely not the case and is just conjecture," said one official. "Every aspect of this case has to be investigated fully and we will do our job properly." There are possible implications, however, to the case being stretched out. If McKeever is hit with a one-game ban, he misses Armagh's final league game but if he receives a two-match penalty, he misses the championship opener against Tyrone on June 12. He will be free to play on if the CHC decides he has no case to answer.

The county's coach and selector Paul Grimley received a four-week suspension.

The Central Competitions Control Committee initially proposed a 12-week ban for the use of threatening language towards an official. However, the CHC decided it was more appropriate to suspend Grimley under an 'abusive language' charge which holds a lesser suspension period.

Donegal's Rory Kavanagh was hit with a one-match ban after seeing red in a league clash against Mayo recently.

Meanwhile, Seán Johnston has no hope of playing championship football for Kildare this season after he failed to lodge an appeal to the Disputes Resolution Authority within the specified time frame. The CCCC and CHC last week turned down Johnston's latest bid to transfer from Cavan to Kildare, leaving an appeal to the DRA as the only avenue available to the player.

However, an appeal to the DRA must be lodged within seven days of the last decision. And Croke Park officials have confirmed no appeal was lodged. Johnston sought a move after being omitted from the Cavan panel by manager Val Andrews last November.

Meanwhile, there are at least 10 motions on the Congress agenda directly related to the tightening of inter-county switches. One proposal recommends a player seeking to play for a new county must first play championship football with his new club in the proposed adopted county.

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