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Investigation likely after referee struck in hurling final

GALWAY club Skehana are likely to find themselves in trouble with the Connacht Council after Mayo referee Kevin McGeeney was knocked to the ground in an ugly fracas at the end of this final in Ballyhaunis on Saturday.

The match -- which should have been remembered as a memorable day in the history of Sligo's Calry-St Joseph's -- was marred by terrible scenes that came before the final whistle and left the referee picking himself off the ground after appearing to be struck by a player from Skehana.

When contacted about the attack on the referee, Connacht Council secretary John Prenty said that his committee would not be found wanting in the matter. Prenty added that Connacht disciplinary chiefs are expecting the referee's report tomorrow, explaining that an investigation would be launched only after they study its contents.

As for the playing action, Keith Raymond reinforced his status as the finest Sligo hurler of the current generation as he inspired his club Calry-St Joseph's to a shock success over their much-fancied Galway rivals.

Raymond, who finished with an impressive 1-9 tally, hit the winner from long range in the dying seconds, having inspired a Calry-St Joseph's comeback with a goal 10 minutes earlier.

Galway champions Skehana had earlier looked on course for victory after taking a grip of the game with a succession of points, including four from Joey Glynn.

This well-contested decider was not without its controversial moments.

Skehana full-back Simon Roche was red-carded after 25 minutes following a foul on Kevin Gilmartin, who was later later sent off on receipt of a second yellow card.

The sides, who met in two previous Connacht Club finals at this level, were tied 0-8 to 1-5 at half-time. The Sligo representatives kept in contention thanks to six points from Raymond (five frees and a fine effort from play) as well as driving runs from Liam Reidy, and ultimately it was their never-say-die spirit which saw them land the spoils.

Scorers -- Calry-St Joseph's: K Raymond 1-9, L Reidy, C Griffin, D Cox 0-1 each. Skehana: J Glynn 0-6, M Connolly 1-0, N Carty 0-2, J Fahy, B Costello, E Quinn 0-1 each.

Calry-St Joseph's -- D Reidy; M Gilmartin, K McCarthy, F Keown; F Coyne, L Reidy, J Kenny; K Raymond, E Kelly; D Burke, D Collery, K Gilmartin; C Griffin, D Cox, T Kelly. Sub used: D Keown.

Skehana -- T Hansberry; J Mannion, S Roche, P Scanlon; D Costello, M Costello, J Haverty; J Fahy, N Carty; J Glynn, F Finnerty, C O'Brien; B Costello , M Connolly, E Quinn. Sub used: P Gooney.

Ref -- K McGeeney (Mayo).

Irish Independent