Cavan yet to decide whether to seek hearing for McKiernan

County have until tonight to challenge suspension for alleged sectarian abuse

Gearóid McKiernan has already missed one game and is due to return to face Roscommon in his county’s league opener.

Gearóid McKiernan has already missed one game and is due to return to face Roscommon in his county’s league opener.

 

Cavan have still not decided whether to seek a hearing on behalf of midfielder Gearóid McKiernan against a proposed two-match suspension for alleged use of sectarian language, which earned him a red card in last Sunday’s McKenna Cup match against Monaghan.

The player has already served one match by missing Wednesday night’s McKenna Cup semi-final win over Fermanagh and could serve out the suspension by missing tomorrow’s final of the tournament, against Tyrone in Armagh’s Athletic Grounds.

Referee Seán Hurson showed the red card to three players in a 60th-minute incident. Monaghan’s Drew Wylie and Paul Finlay were sent off as well as McKiernan. In a separate incident, a fourth player Niall McDermott of Cavan was also sent off for a second yellow.

“Not as yet. We’re still reviewing it and have 72 hours to decide,” said Cavan PRO Mark O’Rourke last night when asked had it been decided to seek a hearing before the Ulster Council.

Previously the county had been due to come to a decision on the matter after Wednesday’s semi-final. Abusive comments of a racist of sectarian nature are punishable by red cards after a decision taken at last year’s annual congress.

Rule 7.2 (ix) specifies a Category IV infraction as: “An act by deed, word or gesture of a racist, sectarian or anti-inclusion/diversity nature.”

The minimum prescribed penalty is “a two-match suspension in the same Code and at the same level, applicable to the next games in the same competition, even if one or both game(s) occur(s) in the following year’s competition”.

The Cavan PRO accepted though that it would be “unusual” to seek a hearing as late as the eve of a match.

McKiernan, who has a previously good disciplinary record, will be available for the county’s first league match against Roscommon next weekend. Other sources in the county believe that there will be no request for a hearing.

There has however been criticism of the leniency of the proposed suspension.

Crossmaglen’s Aaron Cunningham, who suffered racist abuse in the Ulster club final against Kilcoo two seasons ago, told BBC Northern Ireland that he felt the punishment was inadequate.

“I don’t think two games is really going to teach anybody a lesson,” he said.

“I raised the issue a number of years ago publicly and behind closed doors and they promised me that they would take it a lot more seriously and clamp down on it.”

Meanwhile Derry footballer Aaron Devlin – thought to be the first GAA player to be banned for comments made on social media – is expected to have his suspension drastically reduced today.

Devlin received a 48-week ban over derogatory comments made on Twitter about the match officials involved in the club’s controversial Derry SFC final defeat to Slaughtneil in October.

It’s understood that his sanction was reduced to 24 weeks by Derry’s Central Hearings Committee two weeks ago.

He appeared before an Ulster Council Hearings Committee last night with Ballinderry officials hopeful of being informed this afternoon that his suspension has been reduced to the minimum under the misconduct rule, which is eight weeks.

As yet there is no specific rule within the GAA’s Official Guide pertaining to social media, but a new ‘Code of Conduct’ has been circulated to county boards ahead of a motion being brought to annual congress next month.

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