Cork delegates fume as bans upheld on star trio

CORK GAA delegates were incandescent with rage in the wake of the CCCC suspensions of three of the county’s senior hurlers.

Na Piarsaigh chairman Denis O’Neill said last night he was fuming at the decision to suspend Seán Óg Ó hAilpín.

“Seán has been an outstanding servant to the GAA, to his club and county over a long and distinguished career and does not deserve to be treated this way”, said Denis.

“Na Piarsaigh are extremely proud of Seán Óg and are saddened that this should have happened to him. In all the years he has been playing with the club I’ve never seen him pull a foul stroke or get involved in any fighting.

“Thankfully, John Gardiner didn’t suffer a similar fate. When Cork appeal their case, which I’m sure they will, I hope they will be successful in having all the suspensions lifted.”

Both Donal Óg Cusack and Diarmuid O’Sullivan were hit with bans and Cloyne chairman Paddy O’Sullivan said his club would be making no comment until such a time as his committee meet later in the week.

Ballinhassig county board delegate Donal Coleman said it was deplorable that all three Cork players were denied the chance to represent their county in a Munster semi-final.

Bride Rovers delegate to the County Board, John Arnold, added: “I’m of the view that Cork should go the whole hog and appeal their three suspensions.

“When you take into account all the misdemeanours they may have done, and stack them up against what they have given to their clubs and counties over the years, what happened in Thurles wasn’t a storm in a teacup, but a breeze in a thimble.

“People were saying that it was an absolute disgrace particularly in front of national tv and four lines of school children who were acting as a guard of honour, what that was saying is we need several sets of rules in the GAA.

“There should be one set for games played in Rathcormac where there is no kids, no crowd, or television; another set of rules for a match played in Douglas where there is television but no crowd or kids, and yet another set for a game in Thurles where we have television and a crowd but no kids.

“You cannot say an offence is better or worse because school children were present.

“Anybody who knows anything about hurling and saw what went on the same day in Portlaoise between Offaly and Laois, people were saying that was different because players received yellow cards, my point to that is this: you could say with some justification there was malaise of forethought involved in that game.“The centre field players knew months in advance that they were going to be standing side by side at that appointed time.

“Since last October when the draws were made, they knew it. In the case of the Cork and Clare players it was the last thing on their minds when they went to Thurles that day and on leaving the dressing rooms that they were ever going to be at such close quarters. In my view it was purely circumstantial, unplanned, that brought the two teams out of the tunnel together.

“What the authorities should have done was write to all the players in question, severely reprimand them, fine both county boards and leave it at that.

“You could not say that any of those eight players, over their careers, have brought the GAA into continuous disrepute. Of course there were incidents but I’m of the view that the suspensions are completely overboard.

“I agree it should not have happened, but I would hope the CCCC were not trying to justify their existence by flexing muscle here. Any time there is a new body set up they have to take action far above what they would have to take if they have been in existence for 12 months or more. That is no way to run an organisation.

“When you look back and see what happened in Omagh and recall other outrageous incidents which occurred at games over the years, what happened in Thurles is nothing more than a breeze in a thimble.”

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