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No Royal pardon as Bray handed four-week ban

MEATH'S bid to stop inspirational captain Stephen Bray getting suspended for Sunday's All-Ireland SFC quarter-final against Mayo failed last night and they look unlikely to take it any further.

Bray was sent off for an off-the-ball incident in last weekend's qualifier win over Limerick, which saw Shannonside dual player Mark O'Riordan booked and their keeper Sean Kiely also yellow-carded for getting involved as a 'third party'.

The Royals are adamant that Bray only deserved to get a second yellow for the incident but, after consulting with his umpires, Armagh referee Padraig Hughes produced a straight red and reported him for "striking with the hand".

With no video evidence available, Meath brought photographic stills with them when they appeared before the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) at Croke Park last night.

But their pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears as the CHC recommended a four-week suspension which will force Bray out of Sunday's big game.

Bray has the option of taking his case to the Central Appeals Committee (CAC) next and could, as a last resort, also go as far as the Disputes Resolution Authority.

But given the time constraint, and the referee's report, this is believed to be highly unlikely.

The Navan O'Mahony's wing-forward will be a huge loss as he was the Royals' inspirational leader last weekend and is clearly on top of his game right now.

He shot four super points from play against Limerick and is the type of player that would provide huge leadership in the white-hot heat of an All-Ireland quarter-final.

Shane McAnarney, Mark Ward and Michael Burke are among those expected to be vying for his wing-forward spot when manager Eamonn O'Brien names his team.

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