Ballysaggart boss Bennett regrets referee outburst

Ballysaggart selector Pat Bennett regrets any offence caused by his comments following last Saturday week’s All-Ireland junior club hurling final replay.

Bennett criticised Wicklow referee John Keenan, who sent off his son Kieran for a second yellow card offence. He also questioned the ability of the Creggan Kickham players.

“All I want to say is, first and foremost, the comments I made were in the heat of the moment and had nothing to do with Ballysaggart GAA club,” said Bennett.

“They were my own personal feelings and didn’t represent the sentiments of the club.

“If I offended anybody, I regret doing so. As I said, it was in the heat of the moment, just after the game.

“It was something I have never done before and I can assure anyone I’ll be very slow to make any comments on referees in the future.”

Bennett is to be warned about his future conduct by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC). His remarks were condemned by Leinster referees secretary, Pierce Freaney.

However, the CCCC are continuing their investigation into the eligibility of two players who lined out for Kickhams in the two final games against Ballysaggart, as well as in the semi-final win over Fullen Gaels.

Conor Small, who scored a goal in each of the three games, as well as defender Donal Carey, were U16 last year.

As the 2014 All-Ireland series is deemed the same competition as the 2013 county and provincial championships, there is a question about their involvement as U16 players are not permitted to play in adult games.

On such grounds, Ballysaggart objected to the result of Kickhams’ replay victory, but that objection was ruled out as it was lodged after the 72-hour deadline from the game’s throw-in.

But the Antrim side still face an anxious wait as the GAA’s management and rules advisory committees may yet be asked to get involved into the probe.


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