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Portumna hit hard in Galway Board backlash

GALWAY'S probe into their controversial hurling final has produced a sensational post-mortem, with Portumna - the team who did the protesting - being handed the lion's share of the suspensions.

Portumna manager Jimmy Heverin and coach Seán Treacy, now Ger Loughnane's assistant with the county team, have both been banned for two months for bringing the game into disrepute over comments they made in the media about the match.

And, in a decision which is sure to divide opinion in Galway, no suspension has been handed down for the incident involving Joe Canning, something which received widespread media coverage.

On the Monday after Portumna lost to Loughrea, Treacy was highly critical of referee Michael Conway and the treatment meted out to Canning whom, he claimed, required eight stitches and was close to quitting Galway hurling.

"He was butchered from start to finish," said Treacy at the time. "The message was sent out loud and clear on Sunday - the day of the 'sledger' who can do what he likes is back.

"The Galway hurling board and county board have to ask themselves if they are happy with what they saw in Pearse Stadium."

Heverin was also outspoken the following day on Galway local radio, but a GAC investigation could not draw any firm conclusion from the video as to what happened, and neither could they confirm if Canning required the stitching Treacy alleged he required.

Canning's brother Davy has also been suspended for three months for allegedly striking with the hurl in a separate incident picked up on the video. They were also fined ?500.

In contrast, new champions Loughrea - depicted as the villains by Portumna officials in the aftermath - only had one player, John Dooley, hit with suspension (four weeks) as well as being hit with a ?500 fine.

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Their former Galway player Nigel Shaughnessy, who missed the final due to injury, received a warning along with defender Eddie McMahon.

Treacy, who is also listed as the Portumna secretary, did not wish to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent last night, while club chairman Martin Carty was not reachable so it remains to be seen if the reigning All-Ireland champions will choose to appeal the verdict.

Loughrea manager Pat O'Connor - who had been tipped to play a part in Loughnane's management team until Treacy was brought in - said he felt justification after the findings of the GAC were made known.

"As a club and as a group we do feel justification. There was a heading in a local paper down here last week that saying there was no bloodbath, no stitches and no stamp. And that's exactly what we told everyone. It was blown out of proportion," declared O'Connor.

"It was Loughrea's first county championship win since 1941 but the gloss was taken from it by the accusations made afterwards. We were portrayed badly in the media and the joy of our first success in 65 years was diminished."

The GAC investigation was headed by Galway secretary Bernie O'Connor. Galway chairman Frank Burke, who is involved with the Loughrea club, stepped down.

The committee watched three and a half minutes of footage of the match before drawing their conclusions.

Their findings are sure to anger some in the Portumna club and further sour relations between the Board and the reigning All-Ireland champions. Inevitably Canning's future with Galway teams will now come sharply into focus.

Conjecture

Treacy's appointment as Loughnane assistant will also be the subject of conjecture. He initially questioned whether he would want to be involved with a Galway team after the treatment he felt Canning got. But after speaking with Loughnane it was confirmed that he would be remaining.

Now that the Board have taken issue with what he had to say about the Tribesmen's showpiece match, Treacy could well strongly consider his position again.


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