City boost as Alan Bennett escapes further sanction

Cork City skipper and centre-half Alan Bennett has been cleared of a charge of violent conduct after being sent off in the EA Sports Cup semi-final defeat to Shamrock Rovers.

City boost as Alan Bennett escapes further sanction

Despite fears he could face an additional two-match ban, Bennett’s appearance before a disciplinary hearing in Dublin yesterday resulted in a decision to take no further action against the player beyond the automatic one-match ban — which ruled him out of last Saturday’s FAI Cup victory in Bray — he had already served for his red card in Tallaght.

The controversial incident, which involved the allegation that Bennett had stamped on Dave Webster, subsequently gave rise to a war of words between City boss John Caulfield and Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley.

Caulfield had strongly protested Bennett’s innocence, as had the player himself, and having heard him make his case in person as well as studying video evidence of the incident yesterday, the disciplinary panel accepted that what referee Neil Doyle interpreted as a deliberate stamp was not, as the player and his manager maintained, an intentional act.

After the match, Caulfield had said: “Alan Bennett is distraught because his record is impeccable. He’d never do a thing like that.”

Had Bennett received a further two-match ban, he would have missed out on a game would could yet see Cork City clinch the 2017 league title.

If City beat Sligo Rovers at Turner’s Cross tomorrow night and second-placed Dundalk fail to beat Derry City in Maginn Park on Sunday afternoon, then the Leesiders will travel to meet Finn Harps on Monday night knowing that a victory in Finn Park will see the runaway leaders crowned champions.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that, beyond receiving a warning, Caulfield is also facing no further sanction after he was sent to the stands in that eventful EA Sports Cup semi-final against the Hoops.

U12s will be admitted for just €1 at Turner’s Cross tomorrow night when accompanied by an adult.

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