CAC on standby to hear Cork appeal


GAELIC GAMES:Croke Park have put their Central Appeals Committee (CAC) on standby as they await official confirmation of the Cork County Board's intentions regarding the suspensions of three star players ruled out of Sunday's Munster hurling semi-final against Waterford.

The CAC are now prepared to meet this evening, despite the lack of any formal response from Cork by close of business yesterday. However, the appeal against the four-week bans handed down to Donal Óg Cusack, Diarmuid O'Sullivan and Sean Óg Ó hAilpín is still expected - the result of their involvement in the pre-match brawl in last month's quarter-final against Clare.

Cork county press officer Bob Ryan wasn't fielding any calls on the matter, although Cork secretary Frank Murphy told delegates at a county board meeting on Tuesday night that discussions on a possible next step were continuing: "There are ongoing discussions between the board executive, the team management and the players, and no public announcement will be made until that is finished with," he said.

Only one of their players, John Gardiner, was cleared by the Central Hearings Committee earlier this week, and while Gardiner was included in the team for Sunday, the other three were left out.

Croke Park press officer Fergal McGill said their appeal was anticipated, although still not confirmed: "We're not aware of their exact intentions, but our understanding is that Cork will be looking for an appeal. The CAC are now prepared to meet on Thursday (today), if that is the case. That was the earliest they could meet anyway because all parties in the matter have to be represented, including the Competitions Control Committee and Central Hearings Committee."

In the meantime, Clare's appeal against their four players all hit with the four-week ban - Barry Nugent, Alan Markham, Andrew Quinn and Colin Lynch - is known to be forthcoming, but clearly without the urgency of Cork as they're not out in the championship until June 30th.

However, there isn't exactly harmony in the camp regarding the course of that appeal, with Clare manager Tony Considine yesterday launching a stinging broadside against county chairman Michael McDonagh, who had suggested on Tuesday that Clare may withdraw from this year's championship as a form of protest over the bans.

Speaking on both local and national radio, Considine accused McDonagh of going "on a solo" and claimed there was no communication between the chairman and the team management before the threat: "We were preparing the team (on Tuesday) evening in Cusack Park and somebody sent a text to somebody that this was said by the county chairman. Now, there was no consultation whatsoever with me as manager of this team or the players as regards this, and I can assure you we're not pulling out of any championship, the players and management are not pulling out of any championship.

"I believe that the chairman went on a solo here himself. We're definitely not pulling out of the championship. We know we've a tough game against a good Antrim team up there, we know we'll be down a few players but no, no way were we pulling out of the championship. We're actually looking forward to the rest of the championship."

Considine also urged McDonagh to concentrate on the scheduling of club fixtures, which has added further tension between the county board and management: "If the chairman is really worried about us having players missing, maybe he should have a look at the senior club championship in Clare that's going ahead next week, if he could see his way to calling off that, where we could have more injuries to county players, maybe then that would be more in his line to do something like that.

"I could see no reason why these club games could not have gone on last week, on the ninth, 10th and 11th of June, and then we would have a clear run to the actual championship against Antrim. But instead we're starting the championship now on the 18th of June, which is backing it up to the 22nd of June, which is really only giving us a few days for preparation, not alone for the Antrim game but remember we're playing three Sundays on the trot. Now that's two or three days training we have for three matches. I don't think it's good enough."