Seamus Harnedy hopes the GAA’s Central Appeals Committee (CAC) in Croke Park tomorrow evening clear him to play against Tipperary on May 12.
Cork are not questioning the one-match suspension handed down to the senior hurling captain in their final Division 1A game against Tipperary in Páirc Uí Rinn last month. Harnedy has accepted the penalty after being shown a red card by referee Seán Cleere for retaliating at James Barry having won a free against the Tipperary defender.
Instead, Cork are appealing to the Brian Rennick-chaired CAC on a point of law, basically that the punishment was served against Kilkenny in the Division 1 relegation play-off and he should be free to lead the county in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in next month’s Munster SHC Round 1 game.
Cork are questioning the Central Competitions Control Committee’s judgment that the ‘relegation play-off’ was a play-off fixture as there was no demotion attached to the match against Kilkenny. Instead, the result of the match only confirmed which group each team would be in for the new Division 1 format in 2020.
Kilkenny defender Conor Delaney is also in the same situation having been dismissed in the closing stages of the Round 5 defeat to Wexford. Like Harnedy, he too did not play in the relegation play-off in Nowlan Park.
Because Harnedy did not contest the ban, the disciplinary process skipped the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) to the CAC and there remains the possibility applications to the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) could be made should the players not be cleared to face Tipperary and Dublin — Kilkenny face Mattie Kenny’s side in Nowlan Park on May 11.
It’s now 32 days since the players were dismissed and the CCCC’s indifference to the ‘relegation’ match could be raised in defence of Harnedy and Delaney. According to Brian Cody, Kilkenny were approached the week before the game about their interest in not going ahead with the fixture in the event they finished in the bottom two in Division 1A.
In the past, Kilkenny have benefited from a similar quirk in the GAA rulebook. In 2013, JJ Delaney and Lar Corbett avoided suspensions from their Championship openers despite being sent off for striking each other in the Division 1 final. It was found that the rule linking bans between the two competitions had expired.
That loophole was closed the following season but only last season Maurice Shanahan avoided a championship ban for his red card in the relegation play-off against Cork as the fixture was not considered a season game meaning his penalty was time-based — he got a ban of two weeks instead of a one-match suspension.
Meanwhile, Chris O’Leary has been recalled into the Cork senior hurling panel after missing out on selection during the Allianz League.
The Valley Rovers youngster played a key role in UCC’s Fitzgibbon Cup success and has impressed with the college in the early rounds of the Cork SHC. “I was called back into the Cork panel just after the league,” he confirmed. “We’re on a break now back with the clubs.”
O’Leary was speaking at the UCC Sport Star awards, where he was one of 13 athletes honoured at the River Lee Hotel as the college celebrated a triumphant year which saw the skull and crossbone win senior titles in hurling, football and soccer.
O’Leary has scored 1-7 in two games so far for UCC in the Cork senior championship, but he will also line out for his club Valley Rovers in the Premier IHC against Kilworth later this month.
“We are playing on the 28th so we have a break for three weeks and back with Cork then for championship.”