Dublin footballer Kevin O’Brien to contest ban for alleged biting incident
Hearing expected to take place before the national football league final
Dublin’s Kevin O'Brien in action against Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty during the Allianz Football League Division 1 clash in Ballybofey. Photograph: Inpho/Presseye
Dublin footballer Kevin O’Brien is seeking a hearing following the Central Competitions Control Committee decision to recommend a three-match suspension for a category III offence.
Having conducted an investigation into claims by Donegal that a Dublin footballer bit Paddy McBrearty in the league match on April 7th, the CCCC yesterday informed the Dublin County Board of the preliminary decision.
O’Brien, the 2012 under-21 All-Ireland winning captain, immediately indicated his intention to contest the ban, with a hearing expected to take place before the national football league final against Tyrone on Sunday week.
The Naomh Mearnog player denies the allegation of biting.
There is no mention in the GAA’s playing rules about how to punish such an offence so it is believed O’Brien has been charged under Rule 5 (aggressive fouls), category III – 5.11 which states: “To inflict injury recklessly on an opponent by means other than those stated above [kick, stamp, strike].”
The biting allegation was made by McBrearty and Donegal officials during and after the league match in Ballybofey between the 2012 and 2011 All-Ireland champions. In unusual circumstances, it was mentioned in both referee reports as Michael Duffy had to replace the injured referee Pádraig Hughes.
Following an examination of the alleged bite mark by the Dublin medical staff, Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle said last week McBrearty had sustained “a bruise”. The case will go to the Central Hearings Committee.
Meanwhile, Tipperary look set to be without forwards Eoin Kelly, John O’Dwyer, John O’Brien and Brian O’Meara for Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division One semi-final against Dublin.
But the positive news from the Premier County is 2010 All-Ireland medallist Gearóid Ryan, a two-time All Star nominee, has rejoined Eamon O’Shea’s squad following recent injury problems. Six-time All Star Kelly is touch-and-go with a hamstring injury, while O’Brien damaged a finger in a training match against Tipperary’s intermediates recently.
O’Brien did not feature for Toomevara in last weekend’s North Tipperary championship defeat to Silvermines.
O’Meara is struggling with a groin strain and O’Dwyer, who has made a big impact in his debut season at senior level, is carrying a back problem.
Kelly scored 2-8 against Clare in his last competitive outing and would be a notable absentee. Tipperary selector Michael Ryan revealed: “Eoin is recovering, and recovering fast, but it may be a case the game is coming too quick.”
Ryan also confirmed Ryan returned to the squad on Tuesday evening but admitted the Templederry Kenyons clubman is “a long way off” fitness.
Ryan explained: “He’s a long way off the boys in terms of fitness but it’s fabulous to have him back on the field. We had him in at the beginning of the year but his body just wasn’t able to take the load that we were putting on. He has an ongoing groin injury that hampered him in 2012 as well that he never really got the better of.”
Ryan warned Division One B champions Dublin will travel to Thurles with no fear, having secured promotion to the top flight. He said: “For (Dublin manager) Anthony Daly, he’s already after securing Division One A for next season and there’s a massive amount of pressure lifted from their campaign already.
“We played Dublin in a challenge in Nenagh in January and what we’ve come to expect from them is exactly what we got – very well prepared, strong and committed. This Dublin team is a bit like Tipperary in that they hadn’t a good season last year and they’re out to make amends. That’s how I view it.
“We’re after coming through a tough campaign –the toughest league campaign I’ve ever been involved in or seen.
“And next Sunday, we’re expecting as close to championship fare as you’ll get.”