Kerry confident O’Brien will be cleared for final

Kerry confident O’Brien will be cleared for final

Kerry are confident Stephen O’Brien will be cleared to play in the All-Ireland final against Dublin on September 1.

In-form O’Brien picked up a second successive black card in the closing stages of yesterday’s semi-final victory over Tyrone when he brought down Connor McAlliskey.

As a result of those and the yellow and black-combined red card he was shown at the end of their Division 1, Round 4 win over Galway in Tuam on February 24, O’Brien will be served with notice of a proposed cumulative one-match suspension.

The GAA confirmed last week that this season, black cards on their own don’t carry over into the Championship as they were dealt with at the time in the form of the 10-minute sin bin, which formed one part of the experimental rules.

However, red cards of any kind do count towards cumulative bans. Therefore O’Brien had three strikes against his name for the season.

Speaking after the game as he picked up the official man of the match award, O’Brien was confident about earning a reprieve. “Yeah, I knew that going in,” he told RTÉ. “I think the black card in the Meath game was very harsh. I was running off the ball and it was an accidental head clash so we’ll be certainly looking to appeal that one.”

Kerry manager Peter Keane wasn’t entertaining questions about O’Brien’s situation: “You are asking me a question about technical things, which I’ve no idea about. You never want to see a fella get a black, a red, or a yellow card, that is the way it is.”

On receiving confirmation of the recommended ban from the Central Competitions Control Committee either today or tomorrow, Kerry will exercise the option of a Central Hearings Committee (CHC) meeting to query the grounds for the ban. O’Brien and board officials will then be requested to attend a CHC meeting this week or early next week.

Along with O’Brien, Gavin White and Peter Harte were under threat of missing out on the final if they incurred another black card yesterday.

Tyrone and Harte successfully contested his black card in the qualifier win against Longford to free him up to face Roscommon in the Super 8s.

The cumulative suspension came into force five years ago along with the black card. Before 2014, a repeat offence within 48 weeks would have meant a one-game ban. Cumulative cards only relate to the current year’s Allianz League and Championship.

Pat Spillane yesterday said there should be a black card amnesty for All-Ireland finals.

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