O’Gara’s rush of blood proves costly as one-week ban rules Munster star out of vital cup clash

There will be no Heineken Cup miracle match for Ronan O’Gara this weekend after the veteran fly-half picked up a one-week ban that rules him out of Sunday’s must-win final pool game with Racing Metro.

O’Gara, 34, the architect and executioner of so many of his province’s finest hours in European competition over the last 14 years, yesterday in Dublin paid the price for a rash swipe of his famous right boot to the back of Edinburgh lock Sean Cox’s legs during last Sunday’s round five game at Murrayfield.

It’s the first citing of O’Gara’s career and yesterday the Corkman appeared in front of independent judicial officer Jeff Blackett and entered a guilty plea to his contravention of Law 10.4(c), which pertains to the kicking of an opponent.

Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald and team manager Niall O’Donovan gave evidence and submissions on their player’s behalf and there were also submissions from the ERC disciplinary officer, Roger O’Connor, before Blackett deemed the misdemeanour a “petulant act which was out of character”.

He determined the act was at the lower end of the scale for which the punishment is a four-week suspension but O’Gara’s guilty plea and previous good disciplinary record earned a 50% reduction.

Furthermore, Blackett then determined that even a two-week suspension would be disproportionate and cited the fact O’Gara had been body-checked by Cox prior to the incident. That earned the Munster player a further week’s reduction.

Munster will not appeal the decision and have been preparing for the eventuality of O’Gara’s absence with Ian Keatley set to step in as they seek a bonus point win.

Racing will be without centre Fabrice Estebanez, who was given a four-week suspension yesterday for striking Saracens wing David Strettle.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Rassie all smiles as Munster pass big Ospreys challenge

Jacob Stockdale delivering on potential in spades as Ulster claim bonus point

Kieran Marmion ready for Ireland duty says Connacht coach Lam

Garry Ringrose ready for call to arms


Breaking Stories

Newcastle go top of the Championship with win over Aston Villa

Theo Walcott's pre-game controversy against Sutton rather overshadowed his 100th Arsenal goal

Arsenal streak past spirited Sutton in FA Cup

Eoin Larkin critical of Kilkenny's work-rate and attitude

Lifestyle

It’s a privilege to travel among dignified Ethiopians

Is it wrong parents must baptise a child to get them into a school?

One of Ireland’s most sought after music photographers, Christian Tierney, is going green

Wish list: Sumatra gold wallpaper, throws and cushions

More From The Irish Examiner