In the clear: Ten times when GAA bans were lifted or had no effect

When are suspensions not suspensions? Unfortunately for the GAA, the Paddy Tally situation is not an isolated matter
In the clear: Ten times when GAA bans were lifted or had no effect

Diarmuid Connolly, Dublin, receives a red card from referee Joe McQuillan, near the end of the All-Ireland SFC semi-final. However, Connolly received no suspension as two of the DRA panel quashed it on the basis that fair procedures had not applied to the former Dublin star. Picture: Dáire Brennan

When are suspensions not suspensions? Unfortunately for the GAA, the Paddy Tally situation is not an isolated matter.

The likelihood Tally will now not miss a single game of Down’s 2021 season as a result of his reduced eight-week ban for last month’s training breach appears more and more likely given the delays to the start of the inter-county season.

Yesterday, Croke Park confirmed to the Irish Examiner that Tally’s ban commences from the date of the Central Hearings Committee and not when inter-county training resumes as reported elsewhere. So Cork manager Ronan McCarthy will hope he too can avoid a meaningful penalty when his case is heard by the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) next week.

As incidents over the last 20 years show, bans, be they enforced or proposed, can often be meaningless. Here are 10 of them:

1. Diarmuid Connolly

Both the GAA’s CHC and Central Appeals Committee agreed Connolly should be suspended for the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo after he was sent off in the drawn game.

However, two of the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) panel quashed it on the basis that fair procedures had not applied to the former Dublin star. Yet the other DRA panellist Brian Rennick’s dissenting opinion claimed the decision of his two colleagues, former Supreme Court Judge Hugh O’Flaherty and solicitor David Nohilly, to clear Connolly was “fundamentally wrong”.

2. Donncha O’Connor

In 2008, there was plenty of sympathy for O’Connor when he was sent off in the drawn All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry after Aidan O’Mahony made a meal of their exchange. Cork argued to the CHC that there were procedural issues in referee Joe McQuillan’s reporting of the incident and O’Connor was reprieved.

Three years later and the same argument was made by Dublin as Connolly was cleared to play in the final despite being sent off in the semi-final against Donegal.

3 and 4. Lar Corbett and JJ Delaney

After clashing and being sent off by Barry Kelly in the 2013 Division 1 final in Nowlan Park, it was expected the pair would be suspended for their respective Munster and Leinster SHC openers.

However, a technicality arose in connecting league and championship bans (more details below) the former hurlers of the year were free to play against Limerick and Offaly.

5 and 6. Conor Delaney and Seamus Harnedy

Two years ago, the Kilkenny defender and Cork forward were dismissed in their counties’ final Division 1 clashes against Wexford and Tipperary and looked set to be suspended from their opening championship games against Dublin and Tipperary as it was deemed their subsequent relegation play-off was not a regular-season game.

However, on what turned out to be good advice both men sat out that dead rubber match and their counties subsequently argued successfully to the Central Hearings Committee that the game could count towards their suspension.

7. Ryan McMenamin

When it appeared McMenamin was banged to rights and his yellow card foul on John McEntee in the 2005 Ulster final was upgraded to a red by the Central Disciplinary Committee (CDC), the DRA came to the Tyrone defender’s aid and ruled the now-defunct CDC did not have the authority to change the colour of the card handed out by the referee based on video evidence.

8. Ger O’Grady

The Clare defender was sent off for fouling Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh in the 2005 Division 1 final but the ban was only applicable to the league therefore he was free to play in the Banner’s Munster semi-final against Tipperary.

9. Barry Gilleran

It was the Longford footballer’s case, which created precedent for Corbett and Delaney to avoid a match ban.

Gilleran had been sent off in Louth’s last 2013 league game against Louth and was due to miss out on the Leinster SFC first round against Wicklow only that Longford highlighted the temporary (now permanent) measure extending league suspensions into championship had expired the previous year.

10. Joe Canning

In the Wild Geese exhibition game between Galway and Kilkenny in Sydney in November 2018, Canning was shown a red card but as it was not a regular-season game a match-based suspension did not apply. The four-week ban proposed for Canning meant nothing as Galway did not play any games in that period which followed.

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