O’Gara in the clear as ‘bite’ probe over

Dublin footballer Eoghan O’Gara is in the clear after disciplinary chiefs opted not to pursue allegations of biting during Sunday’s Leinster football final.

It’s understood a lack of evidence was cited by the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) when they contacted both counties yesterday to confirm the news.

Meath were initially contacted on Monday afternoon and given 24 hours to submit their version of events after allegations by manager Mick O’Dowd on Sunday evening that defender Mickey Burke was bitten.

Photographs and video evidence showed Burke’s finger making contact with Dublin forward O’Gara’s mouth area.

Burke then appeared to complain to referee Pádraig Hughes of being bitten though he didn’t make any submission to this effect in the subsequent investigation.

In the absence of a conclusive statement from Burke or Meath officials, the CCCC decided they hadn’t enough evidence to propose any punishment for O’Gara and the case was dropped.

Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle confirmed last night the issue is “done and over with” though declined to make any further comment.

Meath secretary Francis Flynn outlined how the situation developed from Meath’s side.

“We discussed the situation on Monday night and sent in our submission to Croke Park this morning (Tuesday),” said Flynn. “The matter was then dealt with by the CCCC in Dublin and we were informed that due to insufficient evidence there will be no charges brought against any players. That would be the end of it now, as far as we’re concerned.”

Flynn declined to comment about Burke’s part in Meath’s submission though it’s believed the experienced Longwood club man didn’t want to push for punishment.

Burke himself was seen as an aggressor in the 63rd minute melee that led to the bite claim and was yellow carded, along with O’Gara and Meath keeper Paddy O’Rourke.

It’s the second time in two seasons a lack of evidence has halted charges being brought against a Dublin player following allegations of a bite.

Donegal’s Paddy McBrearty opted not to give evidence following allegations he was bitten by a Dublin defender during last year’s league.

However, charges had been proposed by the CCCC in that situation and there is no guarantee that action would have been taken against O’Gara following Sunday’s flash point, even with a submission by Burke.

O’Gara was praised by some commentators for his restraint following rough treatment by both Burke and Meath captain Kevin Reilly. Yesterday’s outcome means both teams can move on and prepare for their upcoming games in the All-Ireland series. Meath play Armagh in a Round 4B qualifier tie on Saturday week at Croke Park.

Dublin, who demolished Meath by 16 points at the weekend to claim a ninth Leinster title in 10 seasons, face as yet unknown opposition in the All-Ireland quarter-finals on August 9.

Earlier this year, Dublin forward Jason Whelan was given an eight-week suspension for a biting offence during an O’Byrne Cup encounter with DCU at Parnell Park.


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