Roche was successful in his appeal which came before the County Hearing Committee. However, his club colleague Conor Coyne, who had been banned for 56 weeks, failed to have his suspension lifted.
The bans were handed down by Wexford Coiste na nÓg on the strength of referee Sean Whelan’s match report.
Wexford Referees Society chairman John Rossiter has hit out at the decision to uphold Roche’s appeal. He said: “Anyone who assaults a referee and gets away with it, then it’s a sad day for the GAA. The rules are there to protect the match officials and should they be properly applied there should be no scope for an appeal, other than against the severity of the suspension”.
Meanwhile, Galway manager John McIntyre said the latest injury setback to influential defender David Collins is a huge blow — the 2005 Young Hurler of the Year is set for another season on the sideline.
But McIntyre said while it was a loss for Galway, it was a huge personal blow for Collins, who has been out of action now since suffering an ankle injury in October 2007.
“He has worked exceptionally hard to get back and I am very disappointed for David after all he has put in to get back in action.”
Collins, appointed Galway captain by Ger Loughnane when he took charge two years ago, suffered the ankle injury playing for Connacht in the interpro championship.
Meanwhile, three players make their league debuts for Galway when they take on Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday. Goalkeeper Eric Ward, full-back Kieran O’Donovan and midfielder Eoin Forde will appear at this level for the first time. Athenry’s O’Donovan is the latest to be tried out in the troublesome full-back spot, with Damien McClearn suspended for the next two months after being red-carded against Dublin on Sunday week.
Goalkeeper James Skehill is ruled out through injury, but his Cappataggle colleague Damien Joyce returns to the squad after his club’s exploits in the All-Ireland intermediate championship.
Meanwhile, Damien Fitzhenry and Malachy Travers have been recalled to the Wexford team for Sunday’s NHL clash with Antrim.
Limerick hurling boss Justin McCarthy insists he’s not taking any comfort from his side’s recent performance against Kilkenny ahead of Sunday’s clash with Dublin, at the Gaelic Grounds.
McCarthy’s line-up, including many unfamiliar names, caused a stir by running the All-Ireland champions to a point in their own stronghold of Nowlan Park last Sunday week.
And afterwards the Treaty supremo claimed his side should have won by four points based on the number of scoring chances that they created.
But commenting on the tie against Anthony Daly’s troops, McCarthy said: “Every game is different and it’s impossible to predict how things will pan out this weekend.”
McCarthy is hoping it won’t be a case of unlucky 13 for his team following yesterday’s Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals. The Cork man won’t be able to finalise his line-up for Sunday’s tie until he gets word back today that all his players have emerged unscathed from the inter-varsity action.
Another concern for McCarthy is that a major doubt surrounds the participation of full-forward David Breen, who had to be stretchered off after a collision with Kilkenny duo Brian Hogan and John Dalton. Breen has been unable to do any training since the Nowlan Park tie.
A boost for Limerick is that centre-back Brian Geary, who missed out on the Kilkenny game, will be available.
But his half-back colleague Mark Foley, who again captains the team this year, may have to wait until the March 22 clash with Galway before making a return to inter-county action.
Dublin will have goalkeeper Gary Maguire, centre-back Ronan Fallon and half forward David Curtin available for selection.
Portlaoise GAA have been dealt a major blow in their bid to win three Laois SFC titles in-a-row with the news that Colm Parkinson is to transfer to Dublin club Parnells.
GALWAY (SH v Cork): E. Ward; M. Ryan, K. O’Donovan, F. Moore; A. Coen, S. Kavanagh, G. Mahon; A. Cullinane, E. Forde; D. Tierney, K. Hynes, C. Donnellan; N. Healy, G. Farragher, A. Callanan.
WEXFORD (SH v Antrim): D. Fitzhenry; B. O’Leary, R. Kehoe, A. O’Connell; M. Jacob, C. Kenny, M. Travers; C. Farrell, D. Redmond; S. Banville, E. Quigley, D. Lyng; S. Doyle, R. Jacob, N. Kirwan.