Fitzgerald could face eight-week ban for Tipp tussle

Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald may be sitting in the stands for a potential Leinster semi-final with Kilkenny in June.

Fitzgerald is sweating on referee Diarmuid Kirwan’s report from Sunday’s Allianz League semi-final defeat against Tipperary — and the contents of that could decide his fate.

A high-ranking GAA source had indicated that Fitzgerald will be charged with one of two offences — a breach of match regulations for entering the field of play, or physical interference with an opposing player or team official.

A physical interference with an opposing player or team official charge would bring with it a minimum eight-week suspension and if imposed, Fitzgerald would have to sit out a Leinster SHC quarter-final against a round-robin winner on May 27/28.

An eight-week ban wouldn’t expire until midnight on June 10, which is the date for the expected Kilkenny clash.

For a breach of match regulations, however, Fitzgerald is facing the prospect of a one or two-match touchline ban.

In this case, GAA chiefs may be reluctant to impose the two-match penalty, and he would most likely miss the championship opener only.

Officials at Croke Park will study Kirwan’s report this morning before the Competitions Control Committee (CCC) proposes a course of action.

Meanwhile, former Wexford All-Ireland winner Martin Storey says that Fitzgerald was “totally wrong” to touch an opposition player — but has urged GAA chiefs to go easy on him. Fitzgerald confronted Tipperary’s Niall O’Meara before shoving Jason Forde, incidents caught on camera.

And Storey, a member of the 1996 Wexford All-Ireland winning side, said: “You can’t touch a player. Right, we all get caught up on it and you can run in but you can’t put your hands on a player from the opposition.

“I felt he was totally wrong. You can’t do that anymore but it’s gone so politically correct and I don’t agree with all of the shite either that’s going on. There’s so much analysis now that referees can’t let anything go. There are too many cameras and there’s no bit of sorting out time anymore.

“I believed in that, when backs tried to sort you out in the first few minutes but you stood your ground and markers were laid down.

“Now you have umpires telling referees things. In my time, all they had to do was wave their flags. It really changed with Liam Dunne and Brian O’Meara hand-bagging (2001). That forever destroyed the bit of manliness and ‘manning up’ in the game.”

Storey added that while he wouldn’t be in favour of a touchline ban for Fitzgerald, he admits that GAA chiefs may be forced into action.

He said: “I wouldn’t be in favour of banning him but he can’t do what he did. Here’s my argument: if Jason Forde turned around and dropped him with a box, he would have been suspended for a year, and he (Forde) wouldn’t have been wrong because he was struck first. So there probably has to be some punishment for Davy. I don’t agree with it but I don’t think there was anything in it, a bit of passion with his side under pressure. He felt hard done by because James Breen was probably fouled and the ref let two or three of them go before that. The goal came out of that and that’s why Davy got animated about it. Davy loves the fire, he knew he was creating a fire, and he wanted our lads to get stuck in and break the bit of Tipp momentum. Davy knew what he was doing.”

And Storey, former manager of his home club Oulart-the-Ballagh, revealed: “Every one of us on the sideline tells lads to do things that are not within the rules of the game, but you have to if you want to win matches. Nice fellas win nothing, bastards win everything.

“Any of the good players, they’ll hit you when they have to hit you. Like him or hate him, Davy knows about winning. Everywhere he’s gone, he’s had success. With Waterford, he won a Munster title, in Clare it was an All-Ireland and a League title, Fitzgibbon Cups with Limerick IT.

“He knows what he’s doing and he knows where he’s trying to get to with the Wexford team. I would love if every one of our players had as much passion when it comes to the thing. And I would think it would be wrong if they (GAA officials) do something to him, I wouldn’t agree with it.

“But there have to be repercussions for what happened. The problem is the over-analysis, the bullshit that takes place over similar incidents. I remember one year, they stood ourselves and Kilkenny in the one corridor.

“When their backs were turned, we were stuck in each other. When you train for eight months for something, why would you not be prepared to fight for it, after giving up four or five nights a week?”



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