McGeeney may face sanction over McKernan incident

Declan Bogue Armagh may have made their first Ulster semi-final since 2014, but they could be

McGeeney may face sanction over McKernan incident

Armagh may have made their first Ulster semi-final since 2014, but they could be without their manager Kieran McGeeney if the Central Competitions Control Committee take action over scenes at the end of normal time of their Ulster quarter-final win over Down in Newry.

Although it was not dealt with at the time by matchday referee Anthony Nolan, that is no barrier to retrospective action after television footage captured McGeeney coming on to the field of play after the game was brought to extra-time, and coming into contact with Down defender, Kevin McKernan.

McKernan stopped at the time after the contact was made, but he and a number of Down players – including Caolan Mooney who had been sent off in the dying moments of the first half - were ushered away from the scene by Down selector Stephen Beattie.

McGeeney has served a number of touchline bans and was banished from the touchline for the previous Championship game between those teams in 2017.

This comes a matter of days after the Central Competitions Control Committee handed Dublin hurling selector Greg Kennedy a two match, or four-week touchline ban after he prevented a TJ Reid free reaching his Kilkenny team mate Billy Ryan. Although ref Cathal McAllister spoke to Kennedy at the time, he did not escape punishment.

For some time now, GAA officials have taken a dim view of unseemly scenes involving managerial teams and players. Back in October, two Kerry sides in East Kerry and Dingle were given €1,000 fines and a selector Colm Geaney was handed an eight-week suspension for his role in a melee.

Meanwhile, Armagh captain Rory Grugan has spoken of his immense relief that the Orchard county were finally able to win their first game in the Ulster Championship since 2014 in edging out Down in a closely-fought thriller in Newry.

“The big feeling is of release,” said the Ballymacnab man.

On a personal level definitely with my own performance and also being in a winnable position with ten, fifteen minutes to go, it would have been very hard to swallow to have thrown that away.

“But then given being three points down at half-time of extra-time, I think we showed brilliant character in the second half. The impact from the bench, the young players who stood up, it was brilliant to see that, even watching.

"I got a taste of it for the five, ten minutes I was on the bench and the nerves for the last few minutes. We like to keep the fans on the edge of their seats!”

On the altercation between the rival sets of players and some management at the end of normal time, he explained, “I am going to do the Arsene Wenger and say I didn’t see it! There’s a good rivalry there with your neighbours and they had their tails up after coming back so strongly and I suppose they wanted to send out a message before extra-time.”

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