Tuesday 20 February 2018

Video: Black day for GAA as 11 players suspended in Portlaoise fall-out

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

IT was a black day for the GAA yesterday as their disciplinary authorities suspended 11 club players from the infamous Portlaoise brawl, disgraceful scenes marred a Sigerson Cup game in Galway and a former Roscommon footballer was handed a threemonth suspended jail sentence arising from an incident in an Offaly club game.

Derrytresk (Tyrone) were in shock after eight of their players – four of the starting 15 and four subs – were recommended for suspension after an investigation by the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee into the incidents which marred their AIB All-Ireland junior club football semifinal against Dromid Pearses (Kerry) last Sunday week.

The club was also fined €5,000. Three Dromid Pearses players were suspended and the club was fined €2,000.

The suspensions are especially tough on Derrytresk as they are due to play Clonbur (Galway) in the All-Ireland final on Sunday week and while they can take their case to the Central Hearings Committee, it’s now virtually certain that they will be seriously short-handed for the decider.

Around the same time as Croke Park were relaying news of the suspensions to the clubs, Westmeath referee Sean Carroll and some of his officials were being surrounded by angry St Mary’s, Belfast players after losing to NUIG in a Sigerson game in Galway.

NUIG won by a point in a tense finale, after which Carroll and two umpires were confronted and abused by St Mary’s players.

Other St Mary’s players and officials intervened, but shortly afterwards several players tried to get into the area where the match officials were changing.

Abuse was shouted as they attempted to get through a door leading to the referee’s room.

Meanwhile, at Tullamore Court, Conor Connelly, a Connacht senior championship winner with Roscommon in 2001, was given a threemonth suspended sentence after pleading guilty to the assault of a 17-year-old Edenderry player during a senior tie with Ballycumber last July.

Connelly was acting as a Ballycumber mentor at the time.

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