Ballinderry set to appeal if brawl bans confirmed

Ballinderry have described proposed suspensions for 13 players and supporters involved in a brawl which marred the club’s Derry SFC final defeat as "severe".

Three players face 48-week bans while two others picked up one-match bans following the controversial defeat to Slaughtneil in Celtic Park two weeks ago.

Club chairman Stephen McGeehen, who is also the Ulster Council’s Head of Operations and sits on the GAA’s national code of conduct committee, confirmed the club executive were meeting last night to discuss the penalties.

Former Derry goalkeeper Michael Conlon and current county footballers Gareth McKinless and Aaron Devlin all received proposed 48-weeks bans, while Colin Devlin and James Conway have received one match bans.

Devlin’s proposed suspension is believed to be a landmark case for the GAA as he has been sanctioned for comments made on Twitter about the referee, Anthony Campbell, after the game, which Ballinderry lost to a disputed injury-time goal in Celtic Park.

In some of the heaviest penalties ever handed out by Derry’s competitions control committee, Ballinderry’s pitch is also set to be closed for adult games for one year.

“We regret the scenes at the county final and we apologised to Derry GAA and officials for the scenes that followed the loss of the match,” said McGeehan.

“While they were scenes that we would condemn, the penalties are severe and if individuals feel they have been harshly penalised, we have a duty to take their case forward.”

It’s understood several supporters have received proposed bans of 48 weeks. While it’s not known if some or all of those bans will be accepted, Ballinderry are expected to seek personal hearings for all five players.

Ballinderry looked to be on the verge of securing a fourth Derry SFC title in a row when Gerald Bradley scrambled home a controversial late goal, allowing Slaughtneil to snatch victory by 1-8 to 0-9.

Goalkeeper Conlon looked to have gathered the ball before it crossed the white line but a goal was awarded by the umpire, a decision accepted by match referee Campbell.

Meanwhile, Monaghan Harps have been officially crowned Ulster Ladies IFC champions following a bizarre end to Sunday’s final against Four Masters.

Controversy arose in Brewster Park when the referee overruled the scoreboard, which had the Harps ahead by 1-8 to 2-4 at the final whistle, informing the Donegal champions that they were in fact ahead.

The Harps players refused to leave the pitch until after further consultation, the game was declared a draw, but Ulster Council chiefs have now upheld the result displayed on the scoreboard, giving Harps a one-point win.


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