McGeeney blast for discipline system

KILDARE manager Kieran McGeeney has termed the disciplinary measures which followed his side’s ill-tempered battle with Laois in the O’Byrne Cup as “a joke”.

Seven players were sent off in the game and McGeeney has consistently said that he didn’t condone the outbreak of fighting that resulted in five players being dismissed.

Two of those players – Kildare’s Morgan O’Flaherty and Billy Sheehan from Laois – have protested their innocence, claiming that they are victims of mistaken identity.

With match referee, Syl Doyle, sticking to his guns in his report and subsequent clarification, the duo failed to convince Leinster Council’s central hearings committee that they should not be suspended for eight and four weeks respectively.

O’Flaherty was charged with kicking, while Sheehan was alleged to have ‘contributed to a melee’. Both McGeeney and Laois boss, Seán Dempsey, have expressed their disappointment and are convinced the players have been victims of a miscarriage of justice.

“I think that’s a joke” McGeeney lamented. “The questions they asked. They seemed to know who they think it was (that kicked) but ‘seeing as we don’t have anybody we’re just going to charge you’. I can’t say anything about referees because I’ll get suspended but that system is ridiculous.

“I haven’t a leg to stand on at the minute in terms of discipline (with seven Kildare players sent off in four games) so I’m not going to pontificate to anybody.

“But in terms of Morgan; the questions they asked him were ridiculous.

“He feels ‘what’s the point?’ (as regards an appeal). You show photographs, and everybody who’s there knows you didn’t do it. He says everybody feels they know who did do it and yet [he’s being punished].”

Dempsey expressed the opinion that Sheehan’s innocence was common knowledge, just as McGeeney has done with O’Flaherty.

He said: “We’re disappointed because I think everyone believes and most people know that Billy didn’t do anything but we didn’t have video evidence to substantiate our appeal and as a result of that they’ll always go with the referee’s report.”

Meanwhile, Kerry star Paul Galvin looks set to escape disciplinary action following an incident with referee Rory Hickey at the end of Sunday’s NFL clash against Dublin.

TG4 cameras captured Galvin attempting to make contact with the Clare whistler, who had overturned an original free given in the Kingdom player’s favour.

Hickey could yet include the incident in his official match report submitted to Croke Park after he waved a warning finger at the Footballer of the Year immediately after the flashpoint.

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