More administration controversy for GAA hierarchy

The GAA could face their third match administration controversy in the space of a month after a chaotic finale to Saturday’s Ulster semi-final draw. 

Donegal were reduced to 14 following Martin McElhinney’s sending-off in the 55th minute for adding a black card to an earlier yellow. However, they had 15 men on the field for a short period towards the end of the second-half around the time a free by Conor McManus dropped short. In the confusion Donegal may also have finished the game with only 13 men.

It is understood members of the Monaghan management team flagged the issue with the fourth official before it was eventually corrected.

The Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) will today review Joe McQuillan’s report before deciding if any further action is taken.

According to rule 6.44 (b) of the GAA’s Official Guide, a team exceeding the number of players permitted could face award of the game to the opposing side, a replay or a fine. As the game is already heading to a replay next weekend, if the CCCC are to propose a penalty their options are to fine Monaghan or issue Donegal a fine.

Despite remonstrations on the sideline, Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke said afterwards they would not be taking the matter further. However, he said: “I did think it was strange what was going on, alright. But, look it, I was caught up in the game but I’m sure there was enough people there, enough officials and TV cameras that will see it for themselves.”

Rory Gallagher was not aware of an issue at the time. “I honestly didn’t notice it. I got told after the thing. Listen, there’s a lot going on, it’s helter-skelter, it’s not easy.”

Both managers felt their teams were at times harshly treated by McQuillan. “We’d be disappointed we didn’t see it out, there’s no doubt about that,” remarked Gallagher. “We were in a good enough position. Monaghan worked a few frees, whether they were frees or not.”

O’Rourke said: “A few of the frees they got seemed innocuous whereas I thought we had to fight a little bit harder for frees particularly in the first-half. But, overall, to concede that amount of scoreable frees is an area we have to look at.”

Gallagher confirmed Donegal are likely to pursue Neil McGee’s disciplinary case. The Central Hearings Committee last week upheld the proposed two-match ban for the defender after he was sent off against Fermanagh and had his one-match ban doubled as it was his second straight red for an infringement in that category this year. “We’ll be taking it further. There just hasn’t been a (appeal) hearing yet. When you have a man sent off you just have to plan without him but the plus point in the overall scheme of the championship is he’s one game down and we’re no worse off.”


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