Donegal had the half-time ‘right of way’ in Ballybofey, confirms the Ulster Council, who expect to hear from the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) about Sunday’s interval fracas.
Stephen Donnelly, the province’s fixtures secretary, described the scuffle that broke out between Donegal and Tyrone players and mentors as “disappointing”.
Donnelly confirmed, as per the match-day protocol, that Donegal were entitled to leave the field first. However, several of the Tyrone camp left the playing area at the same time as their opponents. Mickey Harte succeeded in convincing some of his players to stay back.
Donnelly said: “Each day we would inform the teams whether they would be going off first or second and yesterday (Sunday) was no different. Donegal were to be the first and Tyrone were to go off second.
“They (CCCC) will want to know who was supposed to go and who was supposed to stay. There’s no hiding behind it. Ballybofey is a very difficult venue because you have a very, very tight tunnel and then you have another hundred yards of a walk to get to the dressing rooms after that. It’s one of the hardest venues to run a game.
“It’s disappointing what happened. You can’t say anything else. I don’t know what the CCCC are going to do. It’s up to them to call it but from our end things would have been disappointing.”
In 2012, Ulster and Munster Councils were the first to adopt the “one team after the other” policy on half-time pitch exits. Earlier that year, a half-time melee between Monaghan and Kildare players during a Division 2 game in Clones saw both counties fined €5,000. Monaghan’s penalty was altered by the Central Hearings Committee to the loss of home advantage, before it was eventually dismissed by the Disputes Resolution Authority. In 2011, an interval row broke out between Dublin and Cork footballers in the Croke Park tunnel during their Division 1 final.
Penalties for breach of matchday regulations are proposed at the discretion of the CCCC. They range from warnings to fines to withdrawal of sideline privileges or the suspension of individuals.
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