Monday 23 April 2018

Ref to appeal 'match that never was' ban

Well-known Wexford referee Ian Plunkett. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile
Well-known Wexford referee Ian Plunkett. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile newsdesk

The Wexford referee at the centre of 'the match that never was' is set to appeal against a proposed 24-week suspension.

Well-known official Ian Plunkett, who was to act as an umpire for James Owens in last Sunday's Kilkenny v Waterford All-Ireland semi-final, has felt the full wrath of the county's Competitions Control Committee (CCC) following a thorough investigation.

Plunkett - who is also secretary of the Marshalstown/Castledockrell club - lodged a full report, result and team lists, along with an earlier text message of the result into the Ballyhogue v Clongeen County Division 5B Football League game, though the match didn't take place.

Clongeen were unable to field a team to fulfil the fixture, having only 12 players available at the venue; that should have led to the referee awarding a walkover to Ballyhogue. However, Wexford County Board launched a full investigation having received complaints as to the constitution of the fixture.

Plunkett, who has been an ever present at the posts for inter-county referee Owens, is now facing into a possible 24-week ban unless he decides to appeal the recommendation.

As last Sunday's game approached, Owens was faced with a real dilemma, but had to make the call and remove his long-standing umpire from his team of officials.

Wexford CCC has recommended a 24-week ban for Plunkett, but it has taken no action against the clubs involved in the game, other than to hand the fixture back to their fixtures committee, which will award both points to Ballyhogue.

Wexford CCC made an early call following their investigation given the importance of the matter, saving Owens and the county further embarrassment, by prolonging the investigation.

Wexford CCC's chairman Aidan O'Leary said the matter is now concluded as far as his committee is concerned.

Local referees' administrator John Rossiter said: "I had nothing to do with it from point of view of investigation or otherwise. I cannot comment on it."

Plunkett explained: "I have lodged an appeal. I did not hear of the recommendation until Friday night.

"I immediately lodged an appeal the following day (Saturday) in the hope that it would have been heard before Sunday's game, but that did not happen.

"I cannot comment any further at the moment."

Irish Independent

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