Shannon lose appeal against IRFU fine

SHANNON have lost their appeal against the €25,000 fine imposed on them by the IRFU disciplinary committee arising out of incidents involving senior members of the club and referee George Clancy at the conclusion of last month’s AIB League game against Cork Constitution at Coonagh.

They also had a six-point deduction of AIB League points suspended, provided there were no similar incidents before the end of May 2011. That remains in place after a meeting of an IRFU appeals committee this week decided to uphold the original decision, taken on December 17 by the disciplinary committee, comprised of chairman Hugh Logan, Philip Orr and Michael Coghlan.

It is understood Shannon chairman Jack Keane, honorary treasurer Tim O’Donoghue and solicitor Pat Barriscale presented the case, but to no avail.

George Clancy’s report on the game – which ended with a last-minute winning penalty for Con – claimed he had been verbally abused by Shannon president Martin Clancy in the referee’s dressing room after the game and by other supporters as he left the pitch. In team sheets handed out before a league fixture against Dolphin last week, the club’s executive committee apologised unreservedly for the incidents. “Shannon RFC does not condone any form of abuse directed towards match officials during or after games at all levels,” it read.

“It is the responsibility of all our members and supporters to ensure that all match officials are afforded the utmost respect at all times. Any breaches of these rules will be dealt with in accordance with the rules.”

Shannon have expressed deep disappointment at the outcome of their appeal, which means they must pay the €25,000 fine (which will go to the IRFU Charitable Trust) on or before March 31 next.

Club PRO Andrew McNamara last night issued the following statement: “The executive committee of Shannon RFC are extremely disappointed at the decision to uphold the decision. At the appeals hearing, Shannon RFC felt that a strong case was presented, refuting some of the initial findings of the original disciplinary panel.

“Shannon’s representation at the appeal hearing presented information that was not available to the initial disciplinary panel, pertaining to the club’s ongoing efforts to ensure match officials are afforded respect at all levels for the last number of years. Shannon RFC feels the imposition of such sanctions will have severe consequences on all rugby at all levels within the club.

“Shannon RFC will concentrate on rugby matters over the next few days. The executive committee will meet early next week to discuss the findings and outcome of the appeal and will be issuing a full and thorough statement soon afterwards.”

Last night’s statement from the IRFU said the panel “took the view that the charges of misconduct were of a very serious nature and any mitigating factors submitted on behalf of Shannon RFC did not warrant any alteration of the (original) sanctions imposed. In the circumstances the decision of the disciplinary panel is confirmed and the appeal is not allowed.”

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