Cork GAA chiefs believe Limerick hurler Paudie O’Brien’s intervention was crucial in getting Patrick Horgan’s red card downgraded last weekend.
Horgan was shown a straight red by referee James McGrath just before half-time in the Munster final for striking O’Brien with his hurley, a decision that was widely criticised after the game. Cork chose to appeal the suspension and took their case to the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee last Saturday.
Paudie O’Brien had offered to travel to the committee to speak in Horgan’s defence, while he also wrote a letter supporting the Cork forward, pointing out that he had gone down from the impact of the sliotar which struck him on his helmet’s face-mask, not from Horgan’s blow.
The hearing lasted for an hour last Saturday, with Horgan pleading a lack of intent in striking O’Brien and the CHC issued their findings an hour later, downgrading the red card to yellow and thereby freeing the Glen Rovers forward to play in this Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Kilkenny.
The news comes as a welcome boost to Cork, who have been dogged by bad luck on the injury front this season.
Paudie O’Sullivan sustained a season-ending leg break in April while playing for Imokilly in the local championship, and Brian Murphy broke his collarbone on club duty with Bride Rovers.
Midfielder Lorcan McLoughlin, Cork’s best performer in the national league, missed the championship opener against Clare with a shoulder ligament injury sustained in training, while team captain Patrick Cronin started the game against the Banner on the bench as he was overcoming the effects of a heavy chest infection, though Cronin eventually came on against Clare.
Defender Shane O’Neill, who excelled in Cork’s defeat in the Munster final, is an injury worry for the Leesiders ahead of next weekend with a hip injury. At present his chances of playing are rated as 50-50.
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