Ex-Model star Byrne gets two-month ban
Former Wexford hurling star Billy Byrne has been suspended for two months as a result of one of the most bizarre rules introduced in conjunction with the beginning of the new U-17 grade.
Rules stipulate that a 16-year-old, deemed a first year U-17 player, is not eligible to play U-20 grade and Naomh Eanna, based in Gorey town, became one of the first victims having played a 16-year-old player in the U-20 competition.
Byrne, a 1996 All-Ireland winner with Wexford and fondly remembered for his goal-scoring exploits and 'super-sub' tag in the latter years of his Model career, took charge of the U-20 team and was handed a two-month ban for an infringement of this rule.
Aidan O'Leary, chairman of Wexford Central Competitions Control Committee, said that they were sticking to protocol with their punishment as "we are only implementing the rule that's there" while Naomh Eanna unsuccessfully appealed the suspension to the Wexford Hearings Committee.
Naomh Eanna chairman Nicky Stafford said of the decision: "We appealed the ban but failed. We would be only wasting our time going to Leinster Council. This is the GAA's way of encouraging people to become involved with clubs and teams."
Byrne has been heavily involved with Wexford's minor hurlers and a host of underage sides with club and county in recent years.
However, it will come as a huge disappointment that he is forced out of the fray for two months after a misunderstanding in the interpretation of these rules, implemented for the first time this year.