Monday 23 April 2018

Investigation into racist abuse of Wicklow hurler deferred to next week

Andy O'Brien, Wicklow
Andy O'Brien, Wicklow
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

AN investigation into the alleged racial abuse of Wicklow hurler Andy O'Brien was postponed mid-week because the player himself was sick and unable to attend.

It will now take place next Monday night when O'Brien and officials from the Wicklow and Meath boards will meet with Leinster Council's Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC).

Full-forward O'Brien (27) has been playing senior hurling for the Garden county for 10 years but has threatened to quit the inter-county game unless action is taken.

He is a member of the travelling community and claims he was verbally abused during the Kehoe Cup final against Meath last month.

He was sent off 16 minutes into the game and it is alleged the abuse occurred as he was leaving the pitch.

"I was racially abused. It was out of order. I was called 'tinker' and 'knacker' and every name under the sun," O'Brien said.

"My family was there and my father heard it. It's racism and is just the same as racism against a black person. I will pack in the hurling if nothing is done about this."

The Wicklow board submitted a complaint to Leinster Council who were then duty-bound to investigate it.

After several incidents in recent years the GAA introduced a rule to deal with such cases.

It defines any gesture, deed or comments regarded as racial or sectarian as discrediting the Association.

A Cavan player got a two-game ban for comments he made to Monaghan's Drew Wylie earlier this year .

The punishment can also include a fine and expulsion from the Association.

Even if there is no reference to it in the referee's report, the GAA can authorise an investigation.

Irish Independent

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