Cork 'pursuing all avenues' to clear Seamus Harnedy for Championship opener

Cork GAA top-brass are “doing everything possible” to free up Seamus Harnedy for the county’s Munster SHC opener in early May.

Cork 'pursuing all avenues' to clear Seamus Harnedy for Championship opener

Cork GAA top-brass are “doing everything possible” to free up Seamus Harnedy for the county’s Munster SHC opener in early May.

Harnedy received a straight red card for lashing out at Tipperary’s James Barry during Cork’s final game of the league round-robin, giving rise to a one-match suspension which the Cork captain was not allowed to serve on the afternoon of their fifth/sixth-place league play-off against Kilkenny a week later.

Croke Park informed Cork that Harnedy was free to line out against Kilkenny as it was a ‘relegation play-off’ and, as per rule, suspensions are not applicable to relegation fixtures and so carry forward to the next game.

Cork manager John Meyler, following advice from county board officials, did not use Harnedy at Nowlan Park, with Kevin O’Donovan telling delegates at last night’s Cork County Board meeting that the executive “are pursuing all avenues” to make sure Harnedy is eligible to line out against Tipperary at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on May 12.

County board secretary O’Donovan said it was “ironic” Harnedy wasn’t permitted to serve his suspension during a so-called relegation fixture, at the end of which neither team was relegated.

“We are pursuing all avenues to clarify the situation and to challenge the situation, and to find out the avenue in which we can do both of those. It is a little bit complicated at the moment. But if people are wondering are Cork pursuing this matter? 100%, we are,” said O’Donovan.

“If that game against Kilkenny was a relegation game, the suspension could not be served on that day and so carries through to the first round of the championship. But to clarify our position: It is quite simple that it wasn’t a relegation game because Cork or Kilkenny aren’t going to be relegated anywhere next year. And Cork were even offered the opportunity by the CCCC not to play the match because they said whoever finished fifth and sixth could just go into Division 1A and 1B next year as they are two equivalent divisions and there is no relegation.

“So it is ironic for our player to be not allowed serve his suspension because it was a relegation game, yet there was no relegation.”

O’Donovan added: “Our player has accepted his suspension in terms of the infraction, no disputing that. He is willing to serve his one-game ban. It is our position he served that one-game ban because he did not tog out against Kilkenny in the play-off game. We notified Croke Park of that. Our case is that he has served his ban and should be available, but there is also confusion over the route it goes. He is not appealing his sending-off, therefore it is difficult for us to get a hearing for it.”

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