Antrim set to appeal 48-week Matthew Fitzpatrick ban over ‘deliberately false evidence’

Matthew Fitzpatrick, Antrim

Antrim are in the process of appealing the 48-week ban handed down to footballer Matthew Fitzpatrick by the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) for giving “deliberately false evidence and deliberately [misleading] the hearing” earlier this month.

Antrim face Donegal in an Ulster quarter-final in Ballybofey this Sunday, which Fitzpatrick is set to miss as things stand.

It was recommended that Fitzpatrick be given a one-match ban for an incident in the penultimate Division 3 game against Armagh in March.

However, this was dramatically increased in the wake of the hearing, where it was claimed he breached Rule 7.3 (aa) (4) of the GAA’s Official Guide.

The St John’s clubman twice successfully contested a one-match ban in front of the CHC for the aforementioned incident, but on each occasion it was referred back to the Central Competitions Control Committee.

Manager Frank Fitzsimons and selector Pat Hughes were warned about their future conduct arising out of evidence they gave to the CHC.

The Antrim County Board, who helped to identify Fitzpatrick in an altercation with an Armagh player, were lambasted by the players for not defending Fitzpatrick in a statement last month.

Elsewhere, the Leinster Council has given assurances that Innovate Wexford Park will host All-Ireland champions Dublin on Saturday, June 3, should Wexford beat Carlow in this Sunday’s Leinster quarter-final.

There remain concerns in some quarters about Wexford fans being discommoded to facilitate season ticket holders but the venue has been given the green light by the provincial authorities.

By fixing a curtain-raiser ahead of the would-be game and the provision of temporary turnstiles, Wexford Park’s capacity would increase to 18,500-plus.

In the event Carlow win, their quarter-final against Dublin will be hosted in Nowlan Park as Netwatch Cullen Park doesn’t have sufficient stand facilities. 

It has also been confirmed that should Dublin beat Carlow or Wexford, their semi-final against Westmeath or Offaly would be played in Croke Park.

It is believed the Offaly County Board are in the process of securing naming rights for O’Connor Park with current Leinster pre-season tournament sponsors Bord na Móna touted as backers.

An agreement must first be agreed with the Tullamore club who own the stadium.

A vote on selling the rights was deferred last week following confusion about who is entitled to partake in the vote. 

After Carlow, Longford, Westmeath, Wexford, and Wicklow, O’Connor Park would be the sixth county in Leinster to sell the naming rights of their principal stadium.


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