‘If this happened in a pub, it ends up in the courts’

‘If this happened in a pub, it ends up in the courts’

Ballysteen are still awaiting an explanation from the Limerick County Board as to why a Ballylanders player who broke the eye-socket and cheekbone of one of their players had his red card rescinded.

In the second half of last month’s county senior football quarter-final in Kilmallock, a member of the Ballysteen team, who wishes to remain anonymous, was struck by an opponent. That player was them sent off for the strike.

Following an x-ray in University Hospital Limerick, it was discovered the Ballysteen player suffered a cheekbone fracture and a lower eye socket fracture as well as one to the bone behind his eyebrow.

The injured player underwent surgery earlier this month where a plate was inserted into his face and will remain there for the rest of his life.

He has been advised by doctors he could experience permanent numbness to that side of his face and jaw due to nerve damage caused by the blow.

So disgusted were Ballysteen by the experience, chairman Alan Kehoe issued a letter to the Limerick Leader in which he laid out the club’s grievances with the disciplinary process, which saw the Ballylanders forward made available for the semi-final victory over Newcastle West and last weekend’s final defeat to Adare after successfully contesting his one-match ban.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Kehoe says the matter leaves a bad taste in the mouths of everyone connected with Ballysteen.

“It’s just disappointment at the lack of respect shown to the extent of injuries he received. It was clearly seen on the video that the Ballylanders player ran 20 yards across the field to clatter him. The injuries he suffered I’m sure weren’t intended but this was a case of a player getting away with something.”

Kehoe takes serious issue with the hearings committee that ensured the Ballylanders player received no further punishment other than missing the remainder of the quarter-final.

“We asked who was on the committee that overturned this decision and the county board have been reluctant to give us names. We asked the county board to investigate, a member of the St Kieran’s club, a neighbouring club of ours, suggested it should, but it was shot down by the county chairman.

“One of the lads even went as far as contacting Croke Park but they said they can’t tell us who made the decision. We want to know how many were on the panel, was it a one-man decision, three or whatever.

“Had he served the one-match ban it would have been something but for him not to was an insult to the player and the club.

“If this happened in a pub, it ends up in the courts but if it’s on a GAA field it’s ‘nothing to see here, walk on’.”

“Lads are getting away with it and it’s not right. This committee are sending out the message.

“I’d be worried what example this sets, whether in the future lads will say, ‘Hold on a second, a fella from Ballylanders got off a red card last year breaking a fella’s eye-socket. Why can’t I get my red card overturned?’

“Last year, we played Ballylanders and one of our players got sent off after 10 minutes for slapping a fella across the chest, swinging back. There was no damage to the man, we took the red card and we didn’t appeal it.

“Now this happens and the man has his red card overturned.

“The mind boggles.”

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