Sweeney and Bellew get the all-clear

DONEGAL have received a timely boost ahead of tomorrow’s All-Ireland qualifier against Wicklow in Aughrim.

Full forward Adrian Sweeney, who received a straight red card in last Saturday’s Ulster clash with Armagh, has been cleared to play following his appeal to the Central Disciplinary Committee. Armagh’s Francie Bellew, who was also red-carded in the same match, was also cleared and will be available for the Ulster final on July 10.

Both players produced video evidence to Wednesday night’s CPC meeting and were subsequently exonerated of any wrong doing.

“It’s not the first time players have been cleared after video evidence was produced. That’s been acceptable practice for a couple of years now”, said Croke Park spokesman Fergal McGill.

Unfortunately the respective team managers Brian McEniff (Donegal) and Armagh’s Joe Kernan will have to view their next games from the stand.

They are among five intercounty managers who have been excluded from the pitch enclosure following encroachment onto the pitch during their respective matches. Paddy O’Rourke (Down manager) and two Monaghan team officials Gerry McCarville and Bernie Murray have also been banished from the sideline.

Meanwhile, a member the Wexford football backroom team has been handed a four week suspension. Mick Lillis is one of two prominent Portlaoise GAA club officials who were given lengthy bans by the Laois GAC. When the committee met last week to deal with the referee’s report into an U16 football league final involving Portlaoise and Stradbally both officials were banned from the game.

Portlaoise senior club treasurer JP Cahillane was suspended for 24 weeks after been reported for verbal abuse and physical interference of the referee, while Lillis was banned for four weeks for verbally abusing the referee. Lillis is currently masseur to the Wexford senior football team, and took his place on the bench for the county’s provincial semi-final defeat to Dublin on Sunday last.

The following players were suspended for four weeks arising from incidents in recent games in the Bank of Ireland football championship: Ronan Slattery (Clare) v Cork, June 12; Kevin Cassidy (Donegal), Paddy Mc Keever (Armagh) Armagh v Donegal, June 12; Dan Gordon (Down), Ryan Mc Closkey (Fermanagh) Down v Fermanagh, June 18; Andy Hubbard (Waterford) v Louth, June 18; Shane Cooke (Laois), James Lonergan (Kildare) Laois v Kildare, June 19.

In hurling John Kehoe (Wicklow) received a 12 week suspension following his team’s Christy Ring Cup meeting with Carlow on June 4, while Michael Poinard (Leitrim) has been handed a four week ban arising from incidents in the Nicky Rackard Cup game against Louth on June 18.

Brian McGuigan and Brian Dooher return to Tyrone’s starting line-up for tomorrow’s Ulster SFC semi-final replay against Cavan. Skipper Dooher had been struggling with an ankle injury, while McGuigan is still striving for a return to optimum fitness following a four-month spell in Australia.

The two Brians have been drafted into the half forward line, with Peter Canavan moving from centre forward to the corner. The players to lose out are Owen Mulligan and Brendan Donnelly.

Galway may be without promising young defender John Lee for their remaining games in the All-Ireland hurling qualifiers against Antrim and Limerick. Lee, introduced as a blood substitute during Galway’s 2-22 to 2-11 win over Laois last Saturday, suffered a finger injury in a work accident.

Better news for Galway is that versatile defender Andy Coen was back in training on Tuesday night after a groin injury. Meanwhile, Galway and Offaly continue their preparations for the next round of the qualifiers when they meet in a challenge at Killmor in east Galway this evening (7.30pm).

Offaly boss John McInytyre, who axed five players from his squad for disciplinary reasons this week, will be hoping for a morale-boosting performance ahead of their qualifier with Clare on Saturday week after heavy defeats by Waterford and Kilkenny.

Galway boss Hayes is likely to give a run to a number of players coming back from injury, including experienced defender Liam Hodgins. Top scorer Eugene Cloonan remains on the injured list along with former Allstar Kevin Broderick.

TYRONE v Cavan): P McConnell, R McMenamin, C Lawn, S Sweeney, D Harte, G Devlin, P Jordan, C Gormley, S Cavanagh, B Dooher, B McGuigan, M Penrose, P Canavan, S O’Neill, E McGinley.

GALWAY (MFC v Sligo): E. O’Coisdeabhla; M. O’Neill, J. Kinneavey, C. O’Connor; C. Leyden, T. Crowe, J. Tierney; G. O’Donnell, G. Bradshaw; C. Kenny, M. Gottsche, D. Hogan; E. Concannon, E. Hoare (c), L. Lynch.

DERRY (MFC v Armagh): M. O’Neill; B. Og McAlary, C. McGeehan, M. Collins; D. O’Neill, R. Kealey, D. Bateson; K. O’Neill, B. Gormley; SL McGoldrick, SM O’Neill, P. McVeigh; E. Lynn, N. McNicholl, E. Brown.

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