O’Connell challenges ban in court

WESTMEATH have not given up hope that midfielder Rory O’Connell – currently serving a 12-week suspension – may be able to play in Sunday’s Leinster football final against Laois.

A group of businessmen are reported to have funded a High Court application for an injunction to put the suspension on hold, and free him to play.

The action was listed for hearing yesterday but was deferred until today. However, Westmeath officials believe the application will not be heard until tomorrow.

The management are not due to announce their team until Thursday, which would allow them to include O’Connell were he to succeed.

The County Board official line is that they recognise O’Connell has the right to go to court.

At national level, however, every effort is made to discourage players from resorting to legal actions.

Association President Sean Kelly said yesterday it was a concern that players were considering court action to challenge disciplinary decisions.

“It is a worry. It has been going on for a number of years and that’s why I say the GAC needs to be changed,” said Mr Kelly.

“We need some kind of a tribunal and we need a better appeal system. We hope to have proposals next year.”

Mr Kelly acknowledged that in the area of suspensions, vis-a-vis match bans and term suspensions, there were anomalies in the set-up. Nevertheless, he felt it wasn’t ‘nice’ to see people questioning GAC decisions and seeking redress in the courts.

“They are entitled to do it and we have to put something in place to alleviate that in the future,” he added.

O’Connell received a 12-week ban after being sent off, on the word of a linesman, in the Leinster championship game against Offaly.

In recent times, a Tipperary minor hurler was able to play in an All-Ireland final as a result of a High Court action.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up