Eighty-four days of solitude

Now this I did not see coming:

Waterford fume over 12-week ban for Davy

By John Fogarty

Friday, March 11, 2011

WATERFORD manager Davy Fitzgerald will strongly contest a proposed 12-week suspension handed down to him following last Saturday’s Allianz Division 1 game against Tipperary.

The Clare native was cited in referee James Owens’ report for comments the official claims were made by Fitzgerald. On the basis of the report, the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) have proposed Fitzgerald be banned from the sideline for three months.

Fitzgerald had no comment to make on the matter last night. However, it is understood the Waterford camp have serious contentions with a number of the remarks made by Owens, describing them as “inaccuracies”.

They strenuously deny a number of the claims against Fitzgerald and will make the case in front of the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee in Croke Park next week.

Legal action has not been ruled out either as Fitzgerald is determined to fight against the charge. It is further understood he has been in touch with a prominent Dublin-based solicitor about the matter. As he is appealing the CCCC’s decision, Fitzgerald will be free to take his spot on the sideline for Sunday’s Division 1 game against Cork in Fraher Field. The proposed 12-week suspension is associated with a category four offence, which comes under rule 7.2 (infractions) of the GAA’s Official Code.

Fitzgerald wasn’t particularly animated during Saturday’s defeat to Tipperary, hardly reacting when Shane O’Sullivan and Clinton Hennessy were shown red cards in the second-half.

There was little of the gesticulations shown by both Fitzgerald and Dublin manager Anthony Daly towards referee Diarmuid Kirwan in the sides’ opening day Allianz Division 1 game in Walsh Park.

Although there appeared to be words exchanged between Fitzgerald and Owens after a free was awarded against Seamus Prendergast in the second-half, there was no indication the referee reprimanded Fitzgerald during the game.

It’s also being claimed in Waterford circles that an altercation between Fitzgerald and the fourth official Alan Kissane, when the latter handled a game between the Waterford and Kilkenny development team the previous Wednesday may have had a bearing on the suspension. Fitzgerald took exception with Kissane after an apparent Kilkenny strike on one of his player’s helmets went unpunished during the challenge game in Carriganore.

Following last Saturday’s defeat to Tipp, Fitzgerald said he had no real gripe with the referee, pointing out his side’s sendings off seem justified.

“They got the reds, that’s it, I’m not going to say anything about them,” he said. “They looked bad. I asked Shane O’Sullivan, he said he went to play the ball hard and lost it in the lights. Clinton, alright, he clobbered your man but the only thing I’ll say was Tommy Ryan was through on the goal at the other end. Was that not the same thing? It just didn’t look as bad that was the thing, but it was the same thing, we were bearing down on goal. I hope the referee will see a bit of sense in his report. I haven’t criticised him. I would be disappointed in a few different things but I’m not going to criticise anyone.”

The Waterford county board have learned the CCCC have recommended both O’Sullivan and Hennessy sit out a month of action as punishment for their red cards in Thurles.

O’Sullivan will not be appealing his impending suspension. Meanwhile Ken McGrath is expected to start for Waterford against Cork in Fraher Field on Sunday.

The veteran star player has only made substitute appearances against Dublin and Tipperary so far in the league.

John Mullane is also set to be in from the off after returning from club duties with De La Salle earlier this week. Mullane is one of four players from the Waterford city outfit currently in the panel. Full-back Ian Flynn has joined up along with Kevin Moran and Stephen Daniels. Eoin Kelly won’t be available for the game in Dungarvan as a recent bout of sickness has delayed his return.

It seems straightforward enough – Davy shot his mouth off to the referee in a manner that would shock Arsene Wenger. It might seem strange that he was so emollient while talking to the press having just given James Owens both barrels but it’s perfectly believable that he would have calmed down by that time. It might even be part of a retrospective strategy to pretend the whole thing never happened. What is strange is John Fogarty treating this as a scoop. His Twitter page contains a gleeful reference to a “High-profile proposed managerial suspension revealed in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner”, and I can’t find a reference to it in any other organ. Shouldn’t suspensions be a matter of public record? Cue several tiresome weeks of appeals and conspiracy theories.

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